Monday, August 31, 2009

shoes without shoestrings

I don't know why I still get so excited for each Hov release. The man is still undoubtedly my favorite rapper but each new release misses out on that feeling that this is an epic event record.
Even with Hov's rhymes getting increasingly boring I still eagerly await new LPs. Even though there will not be anymore moments of sure joy and amazement that came the first time I heard "The Black Album" or "The Blueprint".
The man can still provide noteworthy lines here and there, but each song just feels like a retread of what he has been doing since "Kingdom Come" (save "American Gangster"). Once upon a time Hov was turning phrase like no one else, now he just seems to be content to rhyme about his bank account and to the aid of bolstering his ego.
On the production side, there are some serious high points here and some laughable low points. Kanye's beats further move from what you expect Kanye beats to sound like. For the most part they are minimalist and might have been better served tossing to Big Sean or something. Even Timbo doesn't disappoint the whole time "Venus vs. Mars", a slow burning track that echoes vintage Tim.
The Pharrell track is straight garbage. The man must be cultivating his recent beats with ear muffs on because they lack any semblance of the originality early Neptunes work had.
An artist with as much talent as Hov deserves more dissection and I will be jumping back into this record a few more times.
For now, I am just going to be disappointed and cue up "Ain't No Love".

Friday, August 28, 2009

real conversacion

I have been absent from this space because we have been mad busy over at the Pulse page.
Today I have an interview up with Cassie Ramone (pictured in middle above) of Vivian Girls.
Give it a read and give the band's new album a listen when it drops on 9/8. It is quite the forward leap from the Girls' debut.


bad film

good film

Ever since it was announced that Bret Easton Ellis' book of short stories, "The Informers" was going to be adapted I was on cringe mode.
There is no thread to the stories in the book and it was going to be a daunting task to connect them within a screenplay.
Just as I thought, the film is a mess. It wastes great talent and millions of someone's dollars. It's just flat out bad.

Then there is "State of Play". The film made no money at the box office, but this Americanized version of the BBC miniseries is the type of film that seems to be getting edged out of Hollywood.
There is solid performances throughout, with just the right amount of suspense and intrigue.
Plus it has the newspaper angle going for it and I'm a sucker for anything set in a newsroom.

Wednesday, August 05, 2009

make us all get crazy

Go here and grab both albums and hella b-sides from the semi-defunct Ohtis.
My guy Adam has posted them all for free download.
So go, grab and listen up.

Tuesday, August 04, 2009

got jokes

Just a few thoughts left out of my review of Judd Apatow's "Funny People", which can be found here.

I saw the film on Sunday night and spent pretty much all day Monday mulling it over in my mind. Coming out of the theater I knew I had enjoyed it thoroughly but over the next 24 hours I was in a pretty bummer mood.
The film is not exactly a comedy and not exactly a drama. It was not as dark as I had expected and there were more laughs than I anticipated. The performances were just so wonderful throughout. Sandler was the best he has been since "Punch Drunk Love" and Rogen turned in his greatest performance to date.
The back and forth between the two actors, whether it was jokes or the serious talk came off as natural. Both of the characters are so unhappy for their own reasons and Sandler's constant chop-busting of Rogen only inflames the friendship.
This is Rogen's film though. His melancholy is an undercurrent to his fascination with Sandler's character and his newfound success. He is also the only sympathetic character in a film full of supreme douche bags.
But it all works. This is one of the best films I have seen this year.
It comes highly recommended, just don't go in expecting "The 40 Year Old Virgin 2".
This is Apatow stepping into another level of filmmaking.

Another thing that has been getting to me is the critics who are jumping aboard the Heigl train of calling Apatow out for his inability to write strong female characters.
Why do these critics never bring up Catherine Keener's turn in "40"? She was absolutely wonderful and not a shrew, or a pushover or whatever.
Even Heigl in "Knocked Up" was not the character she painted herself to be after the fact. She is basically the one responsible character in the film, having a steady job and everything. Also, Rogen has gone on record saying she improv'd half her lines anyway, so where would the fault in her accusations lie anyway?
This is just something I needed to vent about.

Go see "Funny People" tonight. Do not let the running time scare you off, the film does not over stay its welcome.