Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Futureappletreestudio 1 MELTDOWN!

Wednesday, March 18, 2009
I just wanted to make up yet again for lost time. Besides, I'm too lazy to actually write reviews right now, especially when these Daytrotter Sessions already come with lovely ones by Sean Moeller. So then, prepare to OD on DT!

The 1900's

The Daredevil Christopher Wright

Ash Reiter

The Redwalls

Nellie McKay

Vampire Weekend

As always, happy sounds.
Read, Kindly Light...

Guess The Movie

Here are ten quotes and one photo, all from one amazing film. Try and guess the movie without sneaking a peek at IMDB! (I've changed the names of the speakers to give it a little more mystery, but the dialogue is all original and unchanged.)

1. "You got me, Charlie. What are you going to do now?"

2. "I will civilize this land."

A: "What's a misanthrope, Arthur?"
B: "Some bugger who fuckin' hates every other bugger."
A: "Hey, I didn't ask you, you black bastard!"
C: "He's right, Samuel. A misanthrope is one who hates humanity."
A: "Is that what we are -- misanthropes?"
C: "Good lord, no. We're a family!"

4. "Australia. What fresh Hell is this?"

A: "Forgive me, sir, but I've been stuck here with no one but this sorry sack of Hibernian pig shit for conversation. Poor, poor Dan O'Reilly. Sit, sir. Drink with me."
[B cocks his gun and points it at A]
B: "One more crack about the Irish, Mr. Lamb, and I'll shoot you. Am I clear?"
A: "Oh, as the waters of Ennis, sir. Let us drink, then, to the Irish. No finer race of men has ever ... peeled a potato."

6. "Oh, he sits up there in those melancholy hills; some say he sleeps in caves like a beast, slumbers deep like the Kraken. The Blacks say that he is a spirit. The Troopers will never catch him. Common force is meaningless, Mr. Murphy, as he squats up there on his impregnable perch. So I wait, Mr. Murphy. I wait."

7. "Why can't you ever just...stop me?"

8. "Love. Love is the key. Love and family. For what are night and day, the sun, the moon, the stars without love, and those you love around you? What could be more hollow than to die alone, unloved?"

A: "'There’s night and day, brother, both sweet things; sun and moon, and stars, brother, all sweet things; there’s likewise a wind on the heath. Life is...very... sweet, brother...'"
B: "'Life is very sweet, brother; who would wish to die?'" George Borrow, I believe. A worthy writer and a beautiful sentiment, Sir ... But you are not my brother."

A: Now, suppose I told you there was a way to save your little brother Mikey from the noose... Suppose I gave you a horse and a gun. Suppose, Mr. Burns, I was to give both you and your young brother Mikey here, a pardon... Suppose I said that I could give you the chance to expunge the guilt beneath which you so clearly labour... Suppose I gave you till Christmas... Now, suppose you tell me what it is I want from you.
B: You want me to kill me brother.
A: I want you to kill your brother.

If you're really psycho, name the characters who say these things.
And maybe the actors, too!

Hey, there might be a prize involved...

UPDATE: Yes, Kinsey, your friends is correct. Whoever he/she is, he/she gets 77 IMAGINARY AWESOME-BEANS (which are infinitely better than the so-called "cool beans")!
(they look something like this:)

Read, Kindly Light...

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Late Night Buzz: Trailers, Interviews, and More Trailers

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Well, this is a Lenten post, so I can't enjoy any cokes or smokes. Still, perhaps I can get a vicarious buzz off of sharing what's brewing in popcultureland.

To the Buzzmobile! Awaaaay!

I hope by now most of you have seen the new Star Trek trailer. If you haven't, you must watch it. NOW. Yes, you read correctly: despite my once having been an avid Trekkie-Hater, a few seasons of Voyager and this AWESOME trailer have won me over. When I first saw it in theaters, my head exploded. Twice. True story.

Did any of y'all catch the series premiere of Castle last night? It's not bad, not bad at all. 'Course, I love just about anything with Nathan Fillion in it. Speaking of whom, here is the link to an interview in which he talks about the new series.

Apparently the cast of Seinfeld is gonna reunite on Curb Your Enthusiasm. Frankly, I don't want to see Jerry Seinfeld again; I mean nowadays he's just the twice-dried husk of the already dry, hallow shell of his former self. But George? Elayne? Kramer? All of them together? Count me in!

Here's the newest trailer for Pixar's "UP". Now with twice the number of senior citizens, and 100 times the number of creepy talking dogs!

I love Amy Adams. So does my niece, Claire. But to her, she exists only as 'Princess Giselle.' Anyhoo, she did an interview for her new indie dramedy (yes, I love saying the phrase 'indie dramedy' when-and-where-ever possible), Sunshine Cleaning. Read it now.

Wanna take a sneak peak at Guy Ritchie's upcoming Sherlock Holmes film, starring Robert Downey Junior as Sherlock and Jude Law as Watson? Wait. Really? Jude Law as Watson? Oh yeah, yeah, I can see that. Definitely. He definitely looks the part, is the right age, has the level of maturity, etc., etc. I mean he was practically born for this role. [/sarcasm]

And God said "The Last shall be First, and the First shall be Last." And Tyler blogged it so. YOU MUST WATCH THE NEW HARRY POTTER TRAILER!!! I mean it. Stop reading this and click the link now. Click it!
Read, Kindly Light...

Monday, March 9, 2009

The Spinto Band at Futureappletree Studio 1

Monday, March 9, 2009
It's been forever and a day since I did a Daytrotter session! But fret not, dear readers. That's what I'm here to do.

[T]here’s young and out-of-control puppy love, there’s serious-found-the-one love, there’s adoration for the tickly impulse that happens when a familiar song makes you want to sing louder than an airplane, there’s splitting a six-pack, there’s all-night drives, and there is a wealth of good times arranged for all to have inside of every Spinto song. ---Sean Moeller, founder of Daytrotter

I had heard a couple of songs from The Spinto Band floating around the internet, and yeah, at the time I thought they were OK, but nothing special. Their latest session at Daytrotter destroyed that false impression completely. If I had to describe their music in one phrase, it would probably be something like "Electroshock Molasses!" or maybe even "Coked up cotton candy Energizer Bunny." Confused? So am I. But let me explain myself. The Spinto Band's songs are catchy and sweet -- hooky even, but make no mistake: they are hardly "sugar and spice and everything nice." No, there's more than a bit of a bite to their music, a raw intensity and a surprising maturity that belies the poppy exterior of their songs. I'll definitely be looking for more of their music. How could you not like a band that throws together an oddly addicting medley of "Give Me Just A Little More Time" by the Chairmen of the Board, "The Boys Are Back In Town" by Thin Lizzy, and "The Sweet Escape" by Gwen Stefani? I find that to be quite a feat, maybe even a feat-and-a-half. And I dare you not to join in with their frantic and ecstatic "La la la's!" on 'Pumpkins and Paisley'. Just try not singing along. Try it!


The Spinto Band - Welcome to Daytrotter
The Spinto Band's encore Daytrotter session
The Spinto Band - Give Me Just a Little More Time / The Sweet Escape / The Boys Are Back In Town
The Spinto Band - Later On
The Spinto Band - Pumpkins and Parsley
The Spinto Band - Summer Grof
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Sunday, March 8, 2009

Sunday Already?

Sunday, March 8, 2009
Since half of everything good on this site is something I have stolen from better bloggers like Whitney Matheson, I thought, "Hey! Why not steal more?" So here's my version of Whitney's "my week In Pop" review:


Best TV show I saw:
Burn Notice, which is perhaps the most entertaining show on television, and the season finale ("Lesser Evil") was no exception. Season 2 definitely went out with a bang, a looot of bangs. If you haven't yet seen any of this hilarious and addicting spy dramedy, I urge you to rent Season 1; it'll be the best 5 bucks you spend this week.
I also enjoyed: Life -- it's always funny, surreal, and suspenseful. This episode ("Hit Me Baby") was particularly good and Zen-y. Dollhouse -- it took me a few episodes to get into it, but Joss Whedon never fails to hook you. His new series is thankfully getting better and better. Speaking of Joss (and shaky starts and becoming better and better), I've also been catching up on Buffy the Vampire Slayer. I am in Season 3 and am now quite obsessed, as my friends and family can well attest.

Best movie I saw: Sadly, I only saw one movie this week, so Watchmen is the best (and the WORST) by default...
Best album I heard: It's pretty much a toss-up between Matter and Light, the new album by my favorite local band (a colossus of weird folk, bluegrass, and alternative country), The Theater Fire, and Blood Bank, the new EP by singer/songwriter indie-sensation, Bon Iver. I'll hopefully jot down a little album review on each of these shortly.
I'm also listening to: Alela Diane's two albums, The Pirate Gospel and To Be Still, as well as lots and lots and lots and LOTS of Daytrotter sessions -- too many to count, in fact.

Best book I read: Um...prob'ly Moby Dick, which, while I hope it isn't really "The Great American Novel", is damn good. Thanks, Dr. Shank, for helping us wade through it.
I'm also reading: Slayer Slang - a Buffy the Vampire Slayer Lexicon, by Michael Adams, and I am only half as ashamed as I should be for reading that. But hey, go easy on me; it was a gift!

Ok. There be my list. So what's on yours?
Read, Kindly Light...

Friday, March 6, 2009

"Watchmen" Review

Friday, March 6, 2009

Well, count me out. I'm not going no way! Not a 2nd time, at least...

...OK. So it's Thursday night. I have no school in the morning. And, frankly, absolutely nothing to do. My friends say they're going to see a movie: Watchmen. I say something like, "Oh, wow! I had forgotten that was opening! I'll tag along if that's alright." And so off we go, giddy with glee, to the midnight showing of what is sure to be one of this year's biggest disappointments...

I know my audience -- er, um, my lectance? -- is rather limited, but I still hope that this review may persuade many hopeful movie-viewers from wasting $10 and 3-4 hours of their lives on what will almost certainly end up being a flop.

First a little background on the movie for those who have lives (feel free to skip):
Watchmen is a twelve-issue comic book limited series created by writer Alan Moore, artist Dave Gibbons, and colorist John Higgins. The series was published by DC Comics in single issues during 1986 and 1987, and has been subsequently reprinted in collected form. [...] Moore used the story as a means to reflect contemporary anxieties and to deconstruct the superhero concept. Watchmen takes place in an alternate history United States where the country is edging closer to a nuclear war with the Soviet Union, freelance costumed vigilantes have been outlawed and most costumed superheroes are in retirement or working for the government. The story focuses on the personal development and struggles of the protagonists as an investigation into the murder of a government sponsored superhero pulls them out of retirement and eventually leads them to confront a plot by one of their own to stave off nuclear war by killing millions of innocent people. [...] Watchmen has received critical acclaim both in the comics and mainstream press, and is regarded by critics as a seminal text of the comic book medium. After a number of attempts to adapt the series into a feature film, director Zack Snyder's Watchmen was released in March 2009.from the "Watchmen" wikipedia article

Thus, "Watchman" is a long-(geekily)anticipated film adaptation of its eponymous graphic novel (which, of course, I have not read, as you may know from my Coraline post). Many fans of the graphic novel were certain the movie would become an instant blockbuster. I wonder how many have retained their faith in it. As I've said, I had not read the comic before seeing the film, but I was intrigued by its premise and its claim to art; thus we went to the midnight showing with high hopes. We waited for almost two hours in the theater before the film began, a film which we eventually wanted to ditch with a good 40 minutes left to go.

---> to the brass tacks of the Review:
I suppose I keep delaying my actual assessment of the film because it's so hard to put down coherently. Where to begin? Hmm......with asterisks!

*Watchmen is a long movie. But more to the point, it feels looooooong. I remember when I first saw "The Dark Knight" in theaters, I desperately wanted the movie to stretch out, to keep going; despite the superhero film's unusual length, it felt short, because I was enjoying it so much. Whereas, Watchmen drrraaaagged on and on and on. Time was tangible, and unforgiving; I wondered if the movie would ever end, a sentiment which hardly bespeaks virtues in a film.

*Per the point above, Watchmen only made me care about *one* of its characters. Rorschach makes one think of Travis-Bickle -- if he became a real superhero (with very, very similar monologues); though nobler than the Taxi Driver, Rorschach exemplifies the most extreme and feverish of vigilantes, whose just crusade has become an arguably justified series of executions. But Rorschach is the exception that proves the rule; Watchmen has a fairly large cast, with at least 5 main characters who are given almost equal air time, and I only really care if one dies. Perhaps that's the point. Maybe the cast is just too large, the focus too big. Watchmen does share a lot of the flaws of the unmentionable adaptation of the 3rd book in the Lord of the Rings trilogy; it's a little too "epic" for its own good, which generally translates into stilted melodrama and lots of eye candy, but nothing else. I mean, I for one would like to know what a normal Joe-Blow thinks about the eminent destruction of the world, and yet the only characters are the heroes and the villains! And generally speaking, when Watchmen tries to show the depth or complexity of one of its characters, it basically just throws a plot point at them: e.g. "Oh! She really is the daughter of so-and-so, as opposed to what's-his-face. What depth! What complexity!" In other words, instead of making the characters complex, it complicates their lives.

*Gratuitous violence and sex. Listen, I like a lot of violent movies: Man On Fire, Kill Bill, American History X, The Proposition, etc. I also like some movies that have a lot of sex and nudity, like Forgetting Sarah Marshall. I call sex and violence "gratuitous" when their on-screen purpose seems only to titillate, when useful tools of character and story become mere cheap thrills. The violence in Watchmen is not ever-present, but when it appears, it is more than a bit over-the-top, probably over-the-line, and seemingly for its own sake. Again, the film's depiction of sex and nudity does not take up that much time and is not extremely graphic, but it is excessive in so far as it seems out of place and without much of a point beyond itself. To put it another way, Watchmen suffers from the same faults as Sin City, because both films pretend that gore and sex and scandal are not only capable of being 'artsy', but *ARE* ART in themselves, without any qualification. Forgive my crudity, but boobs and brains are not in themselves worthy of film depiction; there must be a good REASON for showing what is properly (as the ancient Greeks understood it) ob-scene, or meant to be kept off-screen. I mean, once you know that Dr. Manhattan doesn't wear any clothes, do you reeeeally need to see his glowing blue member throughout several scenes? I don't think so.

*Piggy-backing on the last point, Watchmen falls far short of the literary heights to which it aspires to ascend. Its title is taken from the Roman satirist Juvenal's "Quis custodiet ipsos custodes?", or "Who watches the watchmen?" And its arch-villain is a reference to the famous Shelley poem, "Ozymandias." And while I admit that the graphic novel may be quite different, "Watchmen" the film is by no means art, and is thus not worthy of even parasitic REFERENCES to real art. Art has a cohesion, a continuity of vision, that Watchmen lacks. Art has multiple levels of analogy, while Watchmen's meaning is sadly only on the surface. Art is life-affirming (even if dark and twisted in depiction), while Watchmen often propounds bleak, Nihilistic sentiments. And, ironically enough, these sentiments prove most true when directed at the movie itself. 'Cause, frankly, "It's all a joke."

*On the + Side: Watchmen is very, very, very, very pretty. Again, it has a lot of action and eye candy, but in the end it proves all style, no substance.

--------> In conclusion, Watchmen is like THIS:

And it does THAT to the viewer:

It is a film that might appeal to the most hardcore fans, but few others. It is too obscure, too long, too disgusting and bleak, for the general American audience to enjoy.

I give "Watchmen" 2 Rorschach action figures out of 5.

See what rating Rotten Tomatoes gives Watchmen.

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