Thursday, July 31, 2008

The Wiggins

Maybe it's just me, but it bums me out when someone else can successfully execute an idea you thought of once. Not because you were arrogant enough to think you'd be the first to think of it, but because it'd be an idea that actually worked out the way you wanted it to work out. Well, I bought an Alesis drum machine many years ago in hopes I could use that as the drums while I played guitar. Obviously it sounded like crap. Anyway, The Wiggins is a band (or solo artist, I guess) who plays guitar with a drum machine. He's actually pretty fucking awesome and manages to pull it off pretty well. I guess his influence would be along the lines of Suicide. Go visit The Wiggins MySpace page and check out tracks like "Johnny" or "When I Get Up" (which was featured on the CBS sitcom How I Met Your Mother). As Glenn might say, "do it for the kids."

RATING: 74%

Where Have All The Merrymakers Gone? by Harvey Danger

If somebody were to say "Standard late 90s rock album," this would definitely be it. It has some fun songs, like it's one and a half hits, but it doesn't do too much in the end. Also, I always hated it when a band didn't know its strengths, like how this band tries to put a couple ballads on the album. Well, sorry dudes, I bought this for Flagpole Sitta, not your failed relationship.

RATING: 61%

Not reviewing for a long time


It's been a long time since I've reviewed anything. Well, taking a break from reviewing is fun because I feel like the picture to the right. But at the same time my brain is slowly and surely dying. That seems less fun than riding a tandem bike.

Rating: Sebastian%

Green Acres

When I was a kid I used to watch Green Acres because a lot of funny shit happened that was funny to a dumb 7 year-old. As I grew older I recognized the finer subtleties of the show. I've always thought it was great to do a reverse Beverly Hillbillies television show because it's certainly a bit more sophisticated to have New Yorkers farming in Hooterville, rather than rednecks living in L.A. Well, if you haven't seen this show since you were a kid then you should do yourself a favor and see that this show was pure genius. It's like a TV sitcom for existentialists...or something.

RATING: 83%

Love Life by Fat Tony

I got to check out a local underground hip-hop artist Fat Tony this past Sunday and was pretty impressed by his set. I spoke with a member of his "entourage" briefly after their set and got loaded up on a couple good local rap albums. First off, Fat Tony isn't fat, and second, I think he actually did take his name from The Simpsons. So, it already seemed to make a lot of sense to me that this would be a good album. What I like most about Fat Tony is that he hasn't gotten tangled up in that mess of a hip-hop genre called Southern Rap (okay, by that I mean I like to see someone from Houston doing something different). Fat Tony has got some good beats and while his lyrical talent isn't flawless, I think a bit more time and experience is going to really polish him off as an artist. Personally, I've always enjoyed hip-hop artists who make use of pop/cultural references in their music and Fat Tony really shines on tracks like "Much Accomplished" (also available on his MySpace page). I'll be checking out whatever he continues to release because this guy has got a chance with a little more time and a lot of luck.

RATING: 64%

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Going To The Dentist

If there's one bi-annual event I hate the most it's going to the dentist. Today I got the metaphorical dental gang bang, which totally sucked. I had the hygienist on my right using the Cavitron (I'm not making this shit up), and some other chick, with 3 hours of training that apparently qualified her to take x-rays of my face on the left. They worked me real bad, tag team style, and that's what I get for going to the dentist who advertises on TV. Lesson learned. The thing is the dentist as a medical practitioner isn't necessarily that bad. They never do more than use their fingers and that metal stick with the mirror on the end to prod around (unless you're getting a root canal). But judging by the equipment they have in those little rooms I'm pretty sure they've got the proper equipment to perform a lobotomy on a patient while they're knocked out. That is if they aren't already giving you the literal gang bang while you're knocked out.

RATING: 40%

Chile Relleno at El Ranchito

On my trip to New Braunfels this past week I knew I had to stop at El Ranchito in Seguin to check out their chile relleno. It was an additional piece of great advice from a Tex-Mex expert at work who just finished an article on Vintage Tex-Mex. El Ranchito has been serving some awesome Tex-Mex since 1940. Their chile relleno (a roasted poblano pepper stuffed with chicken and topped with melted cheese) was the recommendation, and it was out of this world. I got the feeling the waiter knew I wasn't screwing around so he offered it with a spicy ranchero sauce on top, instead of the standard tomato sauce, which added a nice kick to the dish. The corn tortiallas served, however, weren't homemade, and that disappointed me just a bit considering the restaurant's history. I've got to say it's not the traditional chile relleno you're expecting (although, there are endless variations in Mexico), but it was a fantastically delicious take on an old Mexican favorite.

RATING: 86%

Texas Hill Country

Modern scholars typically place the Garden of Eden somewhere in the Middle East, although there are a number of arguments in regards to the specific location. Well, I'm no biblical expert but I'm pretty sure if it existed it was probably in the Texas Hill Country. Besides, didn't the Earth split from one large land mass into its current fractured state? It's scientifically plausible, right? The New York Times recently named the Hill Country as "the #1 vacation spot in the nation" to which I'm actually going to take some points off, but it does tell us that even some Yankees know a thing or two about a thing or two. What I like most besides how perfect you'll find the scenery is, well, the food there is pretty damn good. Most of the area was settled by Spanish, German, Czech and Polish immigrants (and some other Central Europeans), which equates to a lot of good pastries and great smoked meats. Hell. Yes.

RATING: 94%

Solaris (Soviet Version)


#51 on Glenn's Top 100 Movie List

I told you not to get your britches in a bunch. The original is on the list. Anyway, this one is good for a lot of different reasons than the other one. Also, it is a lot more boring. I mean, this guy must have seen 2001: A Space Odyssey and said "well, that was good, but it was a little fast paced for me." This one seems simultaneously more devoid of emotion and more of a love story? I would explain, but what is this, workshop? I'll do what I want.

RATING: 89%

Alien

#52 on Glenn's Top 100 Movie List

I really miss the quiet horror film. The seventies were a great decade for horror films that didn't have to be loud, or in your face the entire time. I've tried to show the original Alien to a bunch of people, and often they just fall asleep. A lot of Jerry Goldsmith's score is just soft, haunting tones, and there isn't a whole lot of action until the chest burster. Anyway, the point is, horror directors of the 21st century, please start decreasing the amount of edits in your movie. Also, make them longer and have less action. Also, maybe more boobs. (This movie has zero boobs. But there can be a quiet horror film with boobs I bet.)

RATING: 92%

Raiders Of The Lost Ark

#53 on Glenn's Top 100 Movie List

Well, Duh.

RATING: 95%

Ultimate Power

(Warning: This review won't make any sense to any non comic nerd, so you might just want to skip to the next review, whatever that ends up being.)

This is a nine issue series in which the Supreme Power Universe's Squadron Supreme comes into the Ultimate Universe in order to get revenge on the Fantastic Four. So they kidnap Reed Richards, and then the Ultimates, X-Men, Fantastic Four, Spider-man and SHIELD all have to go through dimensions to the Supreme Power Universe in what turns out to be a seven issue fight also during which the original Squadron Supreme Universe's Squadron Supreme come through. Make sense? Of course not. This could have been done in like three issues, but Greg Land's traces apparently need a splash page every other panel. This Ultimate Sucked.

RATING: 36%

Reds

#54 on Glenn's Top 100 Movie List

I rented this movie by accident because I saw a clip from some movie starring Warren Beatty and Jack Nicholson that looked funny. This movie isn't that funny, but it's awesome nonetheless. It's about commies and love or something. The Russian revolution mixed with the American communist movement at the time, interspersed with actual interviews with actual American communist movementers who were still alive when the movie was made. If you like communism and/or love, this might be the movie for you! Or if you like Warren Beatty. Then it could also be a movie you would enjoy.

RATING: 90%

(PS - I bought the above version of the dvd at Target for like $5. All the 80s stuff is awesome all over it. It's from this line of dvd releases cashing in on the most consumerist of decades, including Big Top Pee Wee, Sixteen Candles, Weird Science, and Reds. Reds? Really?)

Computer World by Kraftwerk

I guess in their own way, Kraftwerk was the 70s/80s version of Daft Punk, with the difference being I can actually listen to a full Kraftwerk album without getting bored. Anyway, you like them or you don't. It's electronic music, as you know, and pretty lo-fi by today's standards, but its simplicity is part of what makes it great. Anyway, once I heard this song at 80s night here at Numbers and I think it was Kraftwerk - it was electronic and some robot type voice kept saying "Uptown, Downtown, Chinatown." Can anybody help me out there?

RATING: 72%

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Feed the Animals, by Girl Talk


Okay, so Girl Talk is one d.j. who takes the mash-up form into ADHD territory by using about thirty different samples on a single track. The opening track, "Play Your Part (pt. 1)" mixes such songs as Sinead O'Connor's "Nothing Compares 2 U" with Jay Z's "Big Pimpin," Twisted Sister's "We're Not Gonna Take It," and Ludacris's "What's Your Fantasy?"

Drawback- "sarcastic" misogyny and an inability to catch one groove and dance to it for very long.

For fans of irreverent hip hop, dance music, ironic pop, and Negativland.

Rating: 60%

A.R.E. Weapons by A.R.E. Weapons

The other day I watched some documentary about No Wave (the music movement in New York in the 70s and early 80s that Sonic Youth came out of) and they interviewed a bunch of new bands that were influenced by those groups. All of these new bands were totally cocky and sure of themselves (including Liars, the Yeah Yeah Yeahs, and others) and said they were just interested in the fame, and proud of their success. The worst of these guys were the duo A.R.E. Weapons, whose lead singer kept talking about how much he loved all the coke and blowjobs he got from being in some no name band. Anyway, while all of this angered me, I kind of liked the sound of the music so I bought this album for 98 cents off Amazon. It's kind of like The Stooges meet Kraftwerk in a way, with lyrics by some angry rich suburban white 7th grader who's trying to sound tough. I mean, they have a song called "Fuck You, Pay Me," in which the guy just talks about things he wants, and not in a sarcastic way, and also a song called "Street Gang" which I guess is about some motion picture version of street gangs or something? Oh well, it's fine I suppose.

RATING: 46%

Monday, July 28, 2008

Chips

Chips are a kind of thing that are small and thin, and can be any number of flavors, from potato to banana to paint (you shouldn't eat the last kind). Then there can even be additional spices put on the preliminary flavor of chip, so its like a Chipotle Lime Banana Chip, or maybe a Raspberry Tequila Veggie Wrap Potato Chip, or even a Mountain Dew Chip. One bad thing about chips is sometimes when I get a bag I'll eat like half of them, and then when I look at the label it will say "34 servings per bag, around 3 chips per serving." Well fuck you chip makers. I'm just kidding, please keep making chips. Also chocolate chips are pretty good, and the first friend I made in America was named Chip, and Chipwiches are also pretty good if I do recall my Bible.

RATING: 74%

Rather Ripped by Sonic Youth

This is Sonic Youth's most recent studio album, and it's probably the most radio friendly album they've had since 1992. Rather than the epic 20 minute noisescapes we've grown to know and love, most of these songs are under five minutes and have nice, pretty melodies. A couple of times (Pink Steam, Sleepin' Around) they trick you into thinking it's going to be some noising, but then it calms down. It still has some great reaching guitar parts, and it's a lovely album, so if you haven't done me a favor in a while why don't you buy it? For the kids? Did I already end a review like that?

(Sorry for not drawing the cover - it looked way too complex)

RATING: 78%

The Predator by Ice Cube

Remember back when rap music was angry, and dealt with serious political issues that needed change, and then every politician got scared and said "rap music is dangerous," but luckily it all started to be about why being rich is great, so suddenly politicians were ok with it? Whoops, a little diatribe, there. Anyway, this great album that you probably own by Ice Cube was written and released in the aftermath of the LA riots following the acquittal of Rodney King's beaters, and it's highly charged and extremely political and also very great. Instead of humorous skits like a lot of albums has, this has news clips and politicians. I think the thing is, that whenever people back in the day heard a rapper say something about shooting a cop, they took it seriously rather than just wondering what kind of social anger would lead somebody to write that lyric. Nobody complained when Bob Marley said he shot the sheriff. Well, I'm off topic, but this is a great album so chiggidy check yourself before you wreck yourself.

RATING: 76%

Sunday, July 27, 2008

Food

Food is a thing you might find at your local store, or maybe in somebody's picnic basket or sometimes even on the ground. It is often delicious and often terrible. Oh, and you need it to live. Here's what you do if you find some food: put it in your mouth and chew it and swallow it and then your body does magic and you won't die unless it's peanuts and you're allergic to peanuts in which case too bad for you because Reese's cups are awesome.

RATING: 91%

Saturday, July 26, 2008

Suicide by Suicide

Suicide is a band that came to their highest prominence in the seventies playing bizarre synthesizer driven music. There are only two members of suicide - one plays keyboards, the other sings. Anyway, their music is somewhat dark, pulsing, and pretty fun to listen to. There's not much more to say except that if you buy the rerelease double disc of this album it includes a 23 minute show where they got booed off the stage, so I guess that means they have a lot of self confidence or something.

RATING: 68%

Friday, July 25, 2008

Spectacular Spider-Man: The Hunger

This trade, written by the pretty good Paul Jenkins (Why doesn't he have a regular book anymore, hmm?) is also only pretty good. Basically the plot is Venom's symbiont suit is leaving Eddie Brock and wants to permanently join up with Spider-man as its host, but Spider-man is all like, that would not be something I would enjoy. Anyway, they fight blah blah, and it turns out (SPOILER) Eddie Brock is dying of cancer which is why the suit doesn't want him anymore. Anyway, now the Scorpion is Venom but that didn't happen here, it happened later in Mark Millar's Spider-man. On great thing about this book is art by the amazing and highly stylized Humberto Ramos, so I think he's taking over Runaways which should be great.

RATING: 45%

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Modern Guilt by Beck

Meh.

Rating: 50%

Incesticide by Nirvana

Although this album is just a bunch of b-sides and previously unreleased material, it's still ok. I might be biased because I've had it since I was 14, but I think it's got a lot of great tracks on it we all know and love like Sliver, Dive, and Been A Son. It was originally released between Nevermind and In Utero, if you're interested in that sort of thing, and you can get a lot more rare stuff on the incredibly inclusive and boring box set With The Lights Out if you're hardcore like me. Unfortunately, my Aneurysm skips, so that sucks the end.

RATING: 71%

Pessimism

A lot of people right now might be pretty pessimistic about things, but that's probably justified, who am I, Dr. Science? Anyway, what I like about pessimism is you're either always right or pleasantly surprised. You can be pessimistic about small things (Oh, I bet this brownie will have sprinkles and I hate sprinkles) or big things (Oh, I bet the United States will suffer a debilitating economic crash due to undertaxing and the funneling of money into the military and I hate debilitating economic crashes), so pessimism as you can see is very versatile, kind of like beer.

RATING: 77%

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

The Loners

Let me sum up this trade for you: boring boring boring boring DARKHAWK! boring boring boring boring DARKHAWK boring boring DARKHAWK boring boring boring boring boring DARKHAWK VS. DARKHAWK!

RATING: 37%

Sea Change by Beck

Although I haven't heard Modern Guilt so this proclamation may be premature, this album was Beck's last great album. Guero and The Information have some interesting parts, but they seem disjointed, whereas this collection of soft, depressing, orchestral ballads seems like a unified depressing project. It's very sombre, along the lines of Mutations, but it seems larger in scope, and more definitively sad. I recommend it if you like to be depressed or if you like good music.

RATING: 76%

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Arkham Asylum: A Serious House On Serious Earth


This is one of the most intricate graphic novels I've ever read. The plot: Arkham Asylum, the never permanent residence of Batman's captured foes (the criminally insane ones, at least), has been overrun by its escaped inmates. The Joker has taken the entire staff hostage, promising to turn them over if Batman enters the asylum. This sounds pretty basic, and it's one of the first ever villain-free-for-all books that have become so popular. Interwoven with this plot is the story of how and why Dr. Arkham founded the asylum years ago.

Grant Morrison's storytelling, while glossing over most of the characters out of necessity, is nonetheless ambitious, risky, creepy, and rather brilliant. In his hands, Batman becomes a barely sane man of sexual neurosis. The Joker becomes a psychopomp, trickster, and, as one character describes him, possibly "hyper sane." Two-Face has graduated from a coin to tarot cards as a form of therapy, the usually pathetic Mad Hatter is a Victorian pedophile, and even Maxie Zeus is transformed from a cheesy villain into a frightening madman.

Then there's Dave McKean's artwork, a combination of impressionism, photo-realism, collage, and found objects. Morrison's usual occult fixations are also found here. The manuscript overflows with Tarot imagery, pagan gods, and Jungian psychology. Now, if you hate that kind of stuff, this won't be your favorite Batman story, but it sure blows my mind.

Rating: 91%

Asbestos

Not unlike a lot of great marvels from the past, we later find out that some of this great stuff can really mess you up later. People have been using asbestos products for a long long time too. They are really great flame retardants and probably protected some people from dying. Of course, they're probably responsible for a lot more deaths. The good thing is that the only way to develop any kind of complications is from prolonged exposure to the fibers. Of course, if you were a Roman slave a long time ago you were screwed because your clothes were made of asbestos.

RATING: 19%

Reviewing Books Of Poetry

I like to read poetry, as many of you know, and I also like to write reviews of lots of things, as you can probably tell by the 300+ reviews I've done for this blog, but reviewing poetry books is kind of a mixed bag for me. One problem is that everybody expects when a poet reviews a book of poetry that they try to make their review sound poetic, but fuck all that noise, and also I don't like sounding academic which everybody also wants you to do, to which I say balls poopy vaghole. The biggest problem though is that in this world of google alerts, I always worry that if I write a bad review of somebody's book their feelings will get hurt. When I half-jokingly reviewed Fence Magazine a while back, somebody obviously got angry and started crying or something, and I felt a little regretful because I don't want to make anybody feel bad with this blog, but rather I want them to laugh or some other such joyous act. However, I believe there is a serious lack of poetry police out there, though, and that a lot of journals don't want to publish negative reviews because it "hurts poetry" or maybe for the same sappy reasons I am reluctant to do it. But without poetry police actually leveling legitimate criticism, who's going to call out bad books and bad poetic directions? I don't think I'm alone in saying the majority of American poetry being published in major literary journals is bland and highly predictable. Hey, maybe cantankerous old Yvor Winters had the right idea. In conclusion I would like to say poopy again, and also you probably shouldn't come to this blog for legitimate academic criticism, and if I hurt your feelings somehow I am sorry in advance.

RATING: 27%

Tim by The Replacements

The Replacements were a good band, led by Paul Westerberg, that made good guitar rock that tended to sound like what would've happened if the Clash and Big Star made a baby who smoked too many cigarettes. Tim is (in my opinion, which is the only one that counts in my review) their best album, because it both rocks, and is disarmingly self-deprecating and intense. The best song on this album also has a great video, which is why I just linked you to it, you're welcome.

Unfortunately, two of the best songs by the Replacements ("Alex Chilton" and "Can't Hardly Wait") aren't on this album...but you can hardly fault the album for that, especially considering "Can't Hardly Wait" was recorded for Tim anyways.

Anywho...this is a good album, and I'm pretty sure if annoying indie rock hipsters had been around twenty years ago, they would've loved it all to pieces, and made me uncomfortable for liking it as well.

RATING: 88%

Batman: The Killing Joke

This is a very famous Batman one shot because a) The Joker's "origin" is revealed and b) the Joker paralyzes Batgirl/Barbara Gordon. What I guess it is not famous for is being good, because it is not good at all. What a let down! And of all the things in comics that have ever been undone, Batgirl getting paralyzed isn't one of them? It's done in such an offhanded way, it's almost as if Alan Moore is a huge misogynist (he is). Oh well, don't read this ever I guess is the lesson.

RATING: 25%

A Banana I Saw On The Ground Yesterday

Look, a banana's job is simple: be delicious, maybe act as a phallic joke occasionally, and I guess sometimes a clown might slip on the peel or something. This banana was clearly not doing its job. It was rotten and sitting in the grass, and while I did not check first hand, I bet it wasn't very delicious anymore. Hey, buck up, banana! This is why the terrorists are winning.

RATING: 13%

StormWatch: Change or Die

Basically, the premise of Change or Die is that The High (read: Superman analog) has been in exile for thirty years, and has gathered up some of the most powerful superhumans in the world in order to break down the established systems (nations, religions, etc.) and change the world into something new and better. StormWatch, the ostensible "good guys" as a UN strike force, are ordered by their leader (control freak Henry Bendix) to shut them down rightquick. Not only is it good, smart, and cleanly drawn, but it's at least part of the precursor to what I call the current trend in "super-realism" in comics for the 2000's. In this, we see traditional super-heroic styled stories where society and human decision-making are called into question, characters are flawed, and the action looks more like a $300 million dollar blockbuster (with assicated collateral damage) than two guys in spandex hitting each other in a closed room or street until one falls down. This trade includes the three issues of StormWatch that made up Change or Die (THREE ISSUES! FOR A BIG EVENT! AND NO CROSSOVERS! BRIAN BENDIS IS CRYING SOMEWHERE!), a little one-off half issue, and the first three issues of the "new" StormWatch book that spiraled out of Change or Die...and it should be required reading for people who like: comics, change, or awesome.

RATING: 97% (this means that it is better than just about everything, so read or Warren Ellis will [not] kill you)

(image courtesy of whatevercomicshop.co.uk)

Monday, July 21, 2008

Real Emotional Trash by SM & The Jicks

Yeah, I guess it goes without saying by now that I'd probably be a fan of Pavement's former lead singer. I respect what he's done in the past 3 albums because they all (for the most part) show a lot of growth, or at least some bravery/stupidity. If you love SM and his long guitar solos best, then you'll think Real Emotional Trash is the tits. He rips through trippy guitar parts and his usual mix of lyrical nonsense throughout the entire album. The only problem is that SM isn't at his usual lyrical brilliance. He trades out greatly written lyrics (within the context of the song) like "Watch out for the gypsy children in electric dresses they're insane/I hear they live in crematoriums and smoke your remains" for track titles like "Elmo Delmo". It's a bad/lazy habit SM has started since Face The Truth. It takes work to make nonsense "sound good", and SM fails a bit too much this time. Although he falters some lyrically his technical ability on guitar continues to grow. Extra points, also, for Janet Weiss' first appearance as a Jick. Just a shout out to da' indie kids.

RATING: 70%

Fleet Foxes at Bowery Ballroom, July 9th

Okay so I meant to write this review on say, July 10th, but I'm a busy girl okay? Regardless of my slow review writing skills, this show was amazing. What a voice on that lead singer! He had a cold, but I found his occasional coughs kind of charming, especially since he was still willing to power through and seemed so grateful when we clapped and cheered. I'm so glad I got to see them while they are still humble. Also cute and talented. Excepting the cunt who was standing in front of me taking photos for the first three songs, this was a fantastic show. Sorry for the crappy cell phone picture, I forgot my camera.

Rating: 90%

ps - That link above has a full streaming concert you should listen to.

pps - I swear the drummer was making eyes at me. Hey drummer if you reading this, you should email me. Cute girl, front row, short black hair. You know you want to.

ppps - Yep, I'm a giant dork. Cheers!

Batman Begins

After Joel Schumacher effectively destroyed Batman forever, I think we were all happy to see a new direction, and this movie ended up being pretty good. It ends up being extremely original to current continuity (with the Falcone mob family from Long Halloween, Batman being trained by Ra's Al Ghul, Mr. Zsasz), and the casting is superb. I saw this with a fellow comic geek and we were both basically sitting in a pool of our own drool at the end of the movie. Anyway, it's got some boring stretches, Katie Holmes is fucking terrible, the fight scenes are impossible to follow, the music is forgettable, and there are a ton of horrible one liners (some cop [Captain Gordon?] sees the Batmobile and says "I've got to get me one of those," I mean, come on), but it's pretty tits apart from that, and it only barely missed my top 100 which I swear I'll finish someday.

RATING: 81%

Corona

It's bad enough this beer actually tastes like pee, but it's another thing that they're perpetuating to the Mexican audience in Texas that it's "Nuestro Cerveza". I really doubt that people are willing to take pride in Corona when there is already a much better beer from Mexico like Negra Modelo (same company too!). The truth is Corona makes better salt and pepper shakers than they do beer.

RATING: 17%

On The Mouth by Superchunk

Superchunk is a band that is an indie sort of band that was biggish in the 90s, so you might say they were a 90s indie band if you wanted to save words. Me, I don't have too much to say about this album, so I'm trying to spin my wheels a bit to make it look like I wrote a lot about it. It's fun I guess, but it's nowhere near their best album (Foolish), and all the songs basically sound the same. Since they sound fine they get points, but when I want to hear some Superchunk this is not usually the album I turn to, and I didn't even feel like drawing their cover so sue me.

RATING: 57%

Sunday, July 20, 2008

Batman (1989)

I used to say that this movie was an atrocity, and I guess if I was to "nerd out" as the kids say these days I would kind of be right (Joker kills Batman's parents?), but watching it again the other night I realized it was ok. I mean, Michael Keaton is absolutely not believable as Batman, Kim Basinger is ridiculous as an actress, and Arliss has a lot more screentime than I'd like, but Jack Nicholson is hilarious to watch as Joker, and thankfully he gets the most screentime and character depth as anybody. The movie is pretty dated for a lot of reasons (Prince EVERYWHERE), but it's good and the music is also great, so if you think it's a piece of nut like I did then why not check it out again? For the troops?

RATING: 66%

Chop't Salads

When I was a little temp wearing corporate drag and looking for a place to quickly buy my lunch so I could run back to my desk and get paid for eating it, Chop't was often my closest lunch option. Despite their slogan of being designers of a "creative salad," Chop't's concept is a great idea that requires zero creativity and one piece of extra equiptment (a half-moon blade with two handles that is used, once you've picked out your salad ingredients, to chop everything up into neat little bits that fit snugly onto your plastic fork). Who wants to try to stuff a WHOLE LEAF of lettuce into your mouth, am I right, guys?? Well, with such a clever concept in place, it's a shame that these salads suck. They just taste like a big goopy blah -- even the leaves taste bad. Plus, I got a salad with a few simple ingredients and no meat whatsoever and it was like nine bucks and change. Whaaat? If I want my gross salad chopped that badly, I will keep a butterknife in my top left desk drawer and chop a less-expensive, better-tasting salad, and bypass the snooty staff who seem to think they're working at Tiffany rather than at some place where they're chopping up cucumbers covered in French dressing.

RATING: 22%

One Big Self by C.D. Wright

If I'm not mistaken, this book was originally released as the text to a big photography book in which Wright wrote the accompanying text to photographs Deborah Luster took of Louisiana state prison inmates, but then Wright decided to publish just the text so that poor poetry aficionados like myself could afford it. Anyway, it's gripping, and Wright does a fantastic job of weaving all of these voices together (a large part of it is created from actual words of the prisoners, so the voices float and repeat like a ghostly chorus throughout the book), and by the end I was feeling pretty terrified and philosophical about life and/or society. Look, justice is broken, but what does this book say about it? I guess it isn't poetry's place to judge, anyway, or take sides. One problem I do have with this book, though, is that Wright often seems to embody these prisoners, and writes in poor or abbreviated vernacular, and uses their "words" to manipulate the emotional being of the reader, but where does this white broad from high society get the right to come on down to the lowest class of citizens, those stripped of rights, and embody their voices like this? It's just that she is no folklorist, so the times when she writes in colloquialisms seems disingenuine and somewhat racist, but whatever she's C.D. Wright and I'm just some guy who watched four Batman movies in 24 hours this weekend.

RATING: 72%

Pretty Hate Machine by Nine Inch Nails

Released in 1989, Nine Inch Nails' first album sounds extremely 80s, and extremely different from everything else they ever did. Imagine if New Order had kept Joy Division's anger and depression, but still wrote dancy tunes, and that's what this album is. While it is very dated, it is also Nine Inch Nail's most entirely listenable album. That is, there's no pretentious instrumentals yet, or long moments of ambient wind sound effects to act "deep," but just a lot of songs with a good beat behind them. I mean, it's nowhere near as good as The Fragile, but it's still kind of fun in a retro sort of way, right Jeff?

RATING: 68%

Saturday, July 19, 2008

Batman (1966)

Everybody is familiar with this old tv show, with it's pudgy Adam West as Batman and a general penchant for purposely being ridiculous, and the movie version is exactly the same as all of that. The only difference is when you contain all the camp in half hour installments it's kind of charming, and when you stretch it out over two hours it's just fucking stupid. Also, the show and movie totally bypass Batman and Robin's dark origins because of the child-friendly tone, but then who are they, just a rich guy who happens to live with some kid and fight crime for kicks? Anyway, I can't criticize the camp here, but I can criticize how boring this movie is, and how much time is spent on goddamn boats for some reason. Thumbs down.

RATING: 43%

Friday, July 18, 2008

George Michael in Concert

I'll admit, I was nervous about seeing George Michael live for the first time. On the one hand, he's George Michael, and he's touring after he'd previously said he never would tour, so I was excited just to get the chance to see him. On the other hand, he's 45; not exactly the spry young thing that gyrated his way through the 80s in WHAM!. I always answer that "If you were on a desert island and could bring one album" question with "Ladies and Gentleman," so what if I saw my music idol perform at a giagantic, super-expensive concert and he just seemed old and sad? Happily, there was no time to feel bad for Mr. Michael at his super-sized show. When I arrived, my seat got a crazy upgrade, and I could watch the sweet spectacle from just beyond the floor seats. Three huge screens, the biggest of which extended onto the floor, broadcast a combination of videos and trippy rainbow-hued light tones that pulsed to the music. He sang a few of his covers, and a few WHAM! hits and a lot of his own stuff. He stuck to the old favorites and didn't try any new tricks, for which the audience -- a surprisingly equal balance of queers and breeders -- was audibly grateful. He was one guy, performing every song, and while he took a 20-minute break he had no opening act. And he dressed like a cop to perform "Outside," parodying his ridiculous entrapment in 1998. While most celebrities would try to bury that stuff, George Michael broadcasts and laughs at it. And while he couldn't sing my favorite recent song of his, I started the concert clapping and singing along like someone's grandmother, but by the end, I was standing and screaming and swaying. I'm jealous of my friends who get to see him on Monday in New York.

RATING: 93%

Working Overtime

Working at all is bad enough, but sometimes when you work, you have to work overtime. I can't tell you exactly what I'm working on (and trust me, you wouldn't care anyways), but suffice to say that it's more than a little boring, and it appears that a great deal of my work is for nothing. Don't get me wrong, I love my paycheck. And I can totally get behind working overtime if you're compensated for it (hint: I'm not), or it indicates you're doing a good job (hint: nobody cares). But it also leaves you absolutely no time to write reviews/write non-fiction books with Glenn/play Shin Megami Tensei: Nocturne...which is totally unacceptable.

RATING: 17% (which means that it is better than dry heaves, but worse than a fake non-fiction book about a zombie war)

(image courtesy of goodcleantech.com)

Thursday, July 17, 2008

The Plague (Black Death)

So a long time ago there was a massive epidemic that took out most of Europe. I don't like to make light of such matters, but it was like 700 hundred years ago, so we can all lighten up a little now. There were a lot of different periods of massive epidemic, but I'll limit myself to the 14th century. What really sucked is that the Catholic church went around blaming others (primarily the Jews), and subsequently killing them for their responsibility in the outbreak. That's some pretty stupid shit. All in all, a lot of people died, many needlessly and people got really depressed. However, the plague's effects on the population made land and food cheaper and increased per capita income among the common folk. So if you managed to live you were living swell.

RATING: 9%

The Hype Over The Dark Knight


I don't know about you, but I'm starting to wonder if the Bat-hype is Bat-worth it. From the previews, Ledger seems to be playing his own take on Nicholson's Joker, rather than interpreting the character anew. I'm just glad that they didn't retire the Scarecrow after Batman Begins. Oh, and Maggie Gyllenhall as a Bat-girlfriend? She's going to be better than Kim Basinger, Nicole Kidman, Elizabeth Shue, and Katie Holmes combined. Michelle Pfeiffer must be nixed from that equation, since she played both love interest and antagonist. Now, don't get me wrong, I think this Bat-movie may blow my Bat-mind, and possibly be the best superhero film ever made, but that doesn't mean that Heath Ledger deserves a posthumous Oscar. Leave that b.s. to the MTV video awards. We'll always love Big Poppa.

Rating: Batty-Bat Batcent

Words

Words are a sort of thing I like to use to try to communicate my ideas or feelings. Like I might have an idea that I want a sandwich, so I would go to the drive thru and use the words "Can I have a turkey sandwich," to which the drive thru worker might respond with the words "Where the fuck can you get a turkey sandwich at a drive thru?" A lot of poetry these days is about the failure of language, but hold on there, dudes and dudettes, if you hate language so much why don't you go back to caveman world and build a fire using your bare hands and kill a pterodactyl for dinner or some such shit. But I guess if I am in a place that I don't know the language the words might fail in their own special way. I also like curse words like fuck, shit, twat, cooter, dang dong, what the bitch, and Penelope.

RATING: 89%

Summer Of Sam

#55 on Glenn's Top 100 Movie List

The preview for this one always gave me chills, and the movie was also great. Spike Lee, you know? I saw this with Killian in the theater when it came out, and I turned to him and sad "This Adrian Brody guy is going to be a great actor." And lo! It came true. He is a great, oscar winning actor. It wasn't as impressive as the time we saw Bait and I turned to Killian and said "This Jamie Foxx guy is going to be a great actor." Because Summer of Sam is a great movie, and Bait is a terrible movie. So I think I did a better job spotting a good actor in the bad movie than the good one.

RATING: 89%