October 30, 2004

Saw this one this past week and I enjoyed it quite a bit. I don’t think it would make my year-end list, by any means, but I thought if you are in the right mood that it was a fun little film that you can take away some questions from. The end result, that Albert forges his own reality of the whole thing that doesn’t coincide with either of the two existential therapists, I think is probably the most important point of the whole movie. My most important point of the movie was that it was fun and that I got to hear Marky Mark say “Word!” for the first time in way too long.

One more thing: as an art history major, I was interested to hear that Dustin Hoffman’s character has a favorite artist: Magritte. It makes sense, of course. So, who then Caterine Vauban? Most likely Bacon, right?

Todd Burns | 8:11 pm | Comments (2)

October 26, 2004

I’d like to say a word for Mr. John Peel, 1939-2004.

I always found him fascinating; he was a radio disc jockey that for some reason accrued all this respect from bands and listeners, and I didn’t know why. He just played records, didn’t he? Well, yes. But it’s what he did to nurture fresh talent. It’s how he batted off critics who said his devotion to the un- and only just- signed acts proved he didn’t think mainstream music was cool enough. He said his position was such that he could bring great music to a wider public’s attention, and that he would stick with bands for longer but a) they didn’t need him when they were famous and b) there was a bottomless well of talent there to be discovered, so his work was never done.

It was his eclecticism: he was so unpredictable he was almost annoying. Almost. Many people said he was overrated, and I was always brought up to think so. In fact, if I’m honest, I only very rarely caught his show because it was so uncompromisingly weird. It seems silly, and a total contradiction, that I have a CD (2002’s FABRICLIVE.07), compiled by the man himself, that I listen to all the time. Perhaps I should have stuck with him for longer.

Still, there’s something very cool about being sixteen in a mate’s car, hearing a Glenn Miller-esque big band 78, followed by Dizzee Rascal, topped off with some obscure underground Russian trance or something. Whether or not you find that sort of eclecticism big or clever, one thing’s for sure: only John could to get away with it.

I hope the Kop Choir pay their respects at the next match, he’d have loved that.

Colin Cooper | 3:15 pm | Comments (10)

*Goodbye, Dragon Inn
*Crimson Gold
*Kill Bill, Vol. 2
*Fahrenheit 9/11
*Control Room
*Sex Is Comedy
*The Saddest Music in the World

What’s yours?

Josh Timmermann | 11:42 am | Comments (4)

October 24, 2004

Alan Clarke sought to suss out the grim underpinnings and corruption within Britain’s national institutions (namely juvenile corrections and primary schools) to display the bankruptcy not only of the Thatcher regime’s detached, nostalgic politics, but also of the common sense understanding of how society coheres. While films like Derek Jarman’s Jubilee captured the dawn of the Thatcher era and the ushering in of a new conservatism in the moment, it was never intended for broad audiences. As a TV director, Clarke aimed his sights on the Republic, and suffered the consequences.

Having been banned from airing Scum at the height of the punk hysteria, pro and contra, Clarke released a less provocative version into theatres three years later. However, not being satisfied, Clarke continued to air Britain’s dirty, neo-nationalist laundry publicly, producing Made in Britain (with Tim Roth in his first starring role as a neo-nazi matriculating through social services). Although Made in Britain sometimes flounders in the mawkish moral swamp that became the de facto mode of liberal discourse on social issues, the film nevertheless demonstrates the persistent hopelessness among those victimized by an underperforming economy, seeking to exercise power in what little way they can, elements often combining as fascism’s raw materials.

Alan Clarke’s later films, The Firm (about English soccer hooligans banding together) and Elephant (later remade by Gus Van Sant), continue in this vein, revealing to those in denial that the values upheld by Britain’s “Greatest Generation” were violated daily by their defenders, and perpetrated against their children, all in the national interest. The lurid portraiture depicted in these films undoes the mythology present in the “special relationship” between Britain and the U.S., while both governments remained in denial of their most pressing social issues throughout the 1980’s as a dictate of policy.

J T. Ramsay | 11:00 am | Comments Off

October 20, 2004

Yesterday’s entry of A Kiss After Supper coincides with evidence that soundtracks are settling somewhat from their bloated Judgement Night and fatuous Batman Forever days, becoming a less intrusive addition to the films they score. Not only do they maintain their cachet among the cognoscenti, they’re also introducing new generations (as well as those older folks relegated to the coma-inducing Top 40 and other such radio formats) to interesting music.

Jon Brion, responsible for the carbonated I Heart Huckabees soundtrack, has gotten a lot of press lately with Tom Moon’s thoughful write-up in the Philadelphia Inquirer as well as a review on Pitchfork. Have we entered a new era of film scoring for hip, artistic, and small pictures? Will Brion and Mark Mothersbaugh ultimately usurp the terrain formerly held by Ennio Morricone? Will composers, while scoring a battle sequences, never ask themselves, “What would John Williams do?” again? Or will this all be forgotten when auteurs like Wes Anderson, David O. Russell, Michel Gondry, Spike Jonze and Sophia Coppola get swallowed up by the mass-market Leviathan? Is The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou the beginning of the end?

J T. Ramsay | 10:38 am | Comments (4)

October 14, 2004

If you are lucky enough to have a job that allows you to listen to music of your choice during the day, be thankful. As a longtime employee in the retail enviornment, I am at the mercy of whatever in-store playlist happens to be in effect on any particular day. And since I travel to different stores each day, it’s always something new. One store has a definite 80s thing goin’ on (Men w/o hats, Soft Cell), another is all teen-pop and Blink182 type stuff. The worst are the stores whose playlist repeats after only a few hours, forcing the same songs on me more than once. Please indulge me, as I’d like to share an hour or so of what I must endure.

Cher-Right Now
Al Green-Let’s Stay Together
Push Stars-Crazy (I)
Dire Straits-Sultans of Swing
James Taylor_Jump Up(I)
Stevie Nicks-?
Peabo Bryson & Roberta Flack-Looking Like Love(I)
Jimmy Buffet-Mexico
Eric Clapton-It was You
Badfinger-No Matter What
Sheena Easton-Too Many Walls(I)
10,000 Maniacs-Trouble Me
Harpers Bizarre-Feelin Groovy

..and so on. The (I) indicates where the song was interrupted by an in-store commercial. You’ll notice the gods were kind enough to let both the Association and Badfinger to go unmolested, and for that I am grateful.

Today was a good day, as Ice Cube might say, but tomorrow…who knows? Throughout the day, I am subjected to the ridiculous (Gloria Estefan) and the sublime (Todd Rundgren) and often on the ride home, I just turn on NPR to flush the involuntary music from my brain. So enjoy your choices if you have them and say a prayer for those of us who have none.

Chuck Zak | 6:20 pm | Comments (9)

October 12, 2004

Although many cineastes point to Truffaut’s Fahrenheit 451 or Michael Radford’s faithful adaptation of 1984 as dystopian favorites, there are numerous, criminally overlooked political films and documentaries. Today The Criterion Collection released The Battle of Algiers, a deeply influential film dramatizing the struggle of native Algerians against the French colonial occupation. It was originally released in 1966, and the film made evident to many viewers France’s hypocrisy, embodied in Col. Mathieu, as their government imposed colonial rule abroad after having been liberated from the Nazis less than a quarter century before. In the ensuing years, France underwent substantial internal conflict, more far-reaching than America’s political upheavals, as their global empire collapsed, ultimately calling into question the legitimacy of the State.

Z, directed by Costa-Gavras and released in 1969, depicts French leadership as hopelessly corrupt and murderously autocratic, determined to quash any domestic insurrection through duplicity and state terror. The film pivots on the cover-up of an assassination, and the viewer follows the story through several lenses, ultimately filtered by an independent inquest. The upshot is at once illuminating and by turns, horrifying.

In a season littered with propagandistic documentaries and half-baked political dramas, consider checking out Z as well as such films as Wexler’s Medium Cool, Antonioni’s Zabriskie Point, and if you can track it down, Chris Marker’s astounding documentary The Grin Without a Cat.

J T. Ramsay | 4:10 pm | Comments (3)

October 11, 2004

As a music enthusiast, I occasionally find myself staring at my CD collection in it’s slightly naff racking, underneath my hi-fi, centre stage in the grand scheme of my room. Unlike John Cusack’s character in High Fidelity, I’m not interested in methods of ordering and the variety of methods doesn’t interest me any more than is natural for someone with a life. My CDs are alphabetized by artist, and then date ordered by discography. Just like they should be. I seem to remember that in Nick Hornby’s book (was it in the film as well? Bothered?), he ends up re-organising them according to the key moments in which his character became as inane as Hornby himself.

On the evenings in which my social life dwindles slightly, I have noticed in my racks some dubious and often downright preposterous relationships between neighbouring albums. Sure, Nick Drake sits pretty comfortably next to Dylan (as I imagine he’d always have wanted it), and the date ordering system even means his later, solitary work rubs shoulders with Dylan’s similarly lone, organic stuff. I guess it’s also appropriate that Drake backs on to Cohen, but less so that you have to go through De La Soul and (ahem) Dodgy to get to and fro.

Conversely, in F’s, Fairport Convention, Faithless, the Ben Folds Five and Franz Ferdinand all stand together in one huge(ly) disposable cabaret of forgotten dreams, ill-conceived dreams, and well - just dreams. There’s a huge indie mish-mash down in S as Supergrass, The Strokes, Super Furry Animals, The Stone Roses and The Smiths strum away over half a shelf (with some friends). Just looking in that direction, I wonder where I went wrong as Talk Talk’s sublime soundscaping burns holes in the first Thrills record.

There are a few other good couplings (The Beautiful South like proud parents of their post-grad kids, Belle & Sebastian), Björk and The Beta Band making music to take drugs to make…etc, and two generations country closing the set (Neil Young and Wilco). But there are also some terrible ones: Johnny Cash and Cast (bought when I was a nipper, and I don’t ever weed records out), Damon Albarn’s Mali Music and the Manic Street Preachers, Morrissey and Motown, Shine 5 and Talvin Singh?

Since these pairings look so uncomfortable, I’m lead to think that maybe Hornby’s protagonist had the right idea. What do other Stylus writers think, what unorthodox methods of ordering are used, and what are your best/worst pairings?

Colin Cooper | 2:56 pm | Comments (10)

October 10, 2004

This isn’t new or anything (in fact Gel and Weave posted the tracklist back in May and Southern Smoke 14 is already out) but I’m not sure that there’s a better single-disc mixtape to represent southern hip-hop in 2004. Its hosted by Bubba Sparxxx and its got pretty much everything you want in a southern comp - A lot of the tracks on this are already hits or are on their way to being hits - “Nolia Clap remix,” “Three Kings,” “I Want it U Got It,” “Knuck if you Buck,” “What They Gon’ Do,” etc. If you’re wondering why the new Eminem single is so crappy, Lil Jon and Eminem’s “Crunk Juice (40oz)” won’t make things any clearer because it bangs and Eminem sounds a lot hungrier and less bored than on his single. Its also got a whole bunch of Bun B verses (what mixtape this year doesn’t…) but he’s always welcome to drop them - even this far into his career and minus Pimp C he’s still killing it.

Southern Smoke 11 was interesting because it was T.I. live from prison but it definitely doesn’t have the same number of hot tracks that ten does. I haven’t heard Southern Smoke 12 w/ Juvie but a quick scan of the tracklist suggests it isn’t quite as good either.

I haven’t been paying attention to mixtapes much since I got to school but if you get one CD of southern hip-hop this year, this wouldn’t be a bad choice.

Buy Southern Smoke 10 or check the tracklist here.

David Drake | 11:04 pm | Comments Off

Went to see this movie the other night, based on reading the book for the first time recently and the fact that Explosions in the Sky scored much of the film (along with one song from Refused!?), and I was pleasantly surprised with it.

The film did a very nice job of bringing in a lot of the sociological issues that the book focused on (racism, the dead-end economic situation of Odessa at the time (1988) and submerged sexism), without delving deeply enough into them that it bogged down the film. I think it actually did a really good job of touching on them and then moving away, letting the audience think about them if they wanted or to ignore them if they were merely interested in watching the NFL Films-caliber footage from the games.

I think the filmmakers had a lot of things that they really had to bring into this film considering the breadth of the book and they probably did the best job that they could, while maintaining the thrills of what a typical audience is looking for in a football film.

Definitely recommended, if you’re at all into sports movies.

Todd Burns | 5:33 pm | Comments (3)

I knew it was a great choice for a single when my girlfriend said she thought he’d gone completely mad upon seeing the video (Madonna / MC Hammer rips, dancing kids, comedy projectile vomit, nudity et al), but I’d suspected already that it was a good sign when everyone else seemed so put out by it. “Just Lose It” is bizarre even by Eminem’s standards, stealing hooks from himself, from Lisa Simpson’s tyrannical tapdance teacher, playing gay, playing dumb, using a stupid laughing sample as the fulcrum of the chorus…

He’s always played comedy dramatics perfectly, giving the sociologists something to talk excitedly about, the kids something to shout excitedly about and the conservatives something to complain excitedly about. Now he’s fucked up his own fans, shifting lyrical emphasis from murder fantasies to homosexuals and vicodin to fame to this bizarre, deliberately crap melange of homosexual club-oriented meta-bio. But if people are pissed at this then they’re not listening properly – sure, the beat’s not the best he’s ever used, but “Just Lose It” is a procession of hooks from start to finish, and even if Em isn’t spitting hate and frustration and OTT bile, he’s still making people raise eyebrows and ask “what the fuck?”. Is he on the verge of coming out? Is he making a bid to alienate the people who made him famous (and thus made his life even more of a hell)? Is he just fucking with us and playing our expectations before we’ve had a chance to hear Encore? He’s not dropped a bad album yet, and I don’t imagine for one minute that “Just Lose It” is a sign that he’s lost it.

Nick Southall | 11:02 am | Comments (6)

October 7, 2004

As I am currently a bit under the weather, I was wondering what everyone tends to listen to when they’re sick. I frequently can’t listen to music at all, especially when it’s a fever…

Todd Burns | 12:31 am | Comments (7)

October 5, 2004

I got the chance to see Dig! the other night and it was a pretty good film. For those of you not familiar, it’s the story of the Dandy Warhols and the Brian Jonestown Massacre over the past seven (?) years and the two very different paths that the group’s have followed.

The Dandy’s have been a relative success, while never making it big in America they’ve sold a ton of albums overseas. The Massacre, on the other hand, because of their leader Anton Newcombe have never been able to put it together for an extended period of time. Everytime that they seem destined for what could be construed as a bit of mainstream success, Newcombe or someone else goes and shoots the band in the foot.

What I found perhaps most interesting about the film, though, was the fact that one of the “failures” of the Massacre wasn’t their fault at all. Instead, when the band’s van is pulled over in Georgia and Newcombe readily consents to having the car checked by cops, he isn’t aware that the filmmaker has drugs in the car. This tidbit of information was kept out of the final cut for some odd reason, but seems to be a pretty serious and useful piece of information for the viewer, as the film seems to hinge on this and a few other incidents as evidence that the band self-destructs at every opportunity.

Todd Burns | 10:11 am | Comments Off

Current Listening / Watching / Reading

Stewart Voegtlin
WOLFMANGLER, Protected by the Ejaculations of Wolves [Split CD w/ M0SS]
NEGATIVE PLANE, Et in Saecula Saeculorum
MORTEM, De Natura Deamonum

Theon Weber
The Hold Steady - Seperation Sunday
Annuals - Be He Me
Talking Heads - More Songs About Buildings and Food

Ethan White
Bruce Nauman - Raw Materials
Ennio Morricone - The Red Tent OST
Stereolab - Serene Velocity

Bryan Berge
DJ Olive - Sleep
The Chap - Ham
V/A - Trap Door is an International Psychedelic Mystery Mix

Jonathan Bradley
Green Day - American Idiot
Fall Out Boy - From Under The Cork Tree
Brand New - Deja Entendu

Justin Cober-Lake
Stevie Wonder - Music of My Mind
Keith Moon - Two Sides of the Moon
Allen Toussaint - Life, Love and Faith

Ian Cohen
Maritime- We, The Vehicles
Mannie Fresh- The Mind Of Mannie Fresh
Lupe Fiasco- Food And Liquor

Elizabeth Colville
Magnetic Fields - Get Lost
Joan as Police Woman - Real Life
John Vanderslice - Pixel Revolt

Iain Forrester
The Dresden Dolls - Yes, Virginia...
Hot Chip - Coming On Strong
The Knife - Deep Cuts

Andrew Gaerig
Trick Daddy - Thugs Are Us
Broadcast - The Future Crayon
V/A - Rio Baile Funk: More Favela Booty Beats

Todd Hutlock
Uncle Tupelo - March 16-20, 1992
Rockpile - Seconds of Pleasure
Andrew Weatherall - Hypercity

Andrew Iliff
Thom Yorke - The Eraser
Mr Lif - Mo' Mega
Tricky - Live at Leeds Town and Country

Thomas Inskeep
Cameo - The 12" Collection and More
Sonic Youth - Really Ripped
Panic! at the Disco - A Fever You Can't Sweat Out

Josh Love
Cassie - Me & U
Paris Hilton - Paris
Alan Jackson - Greatest Hits Collection

Evan McGarvey
Juvenile - Tha G-Code
Ghostface - Fishscale
Wilderness - Vessel States

Ian Mathers
Muslimgauze - Lo Fi India Abuse
The Cure - The Head On The Door
The Wedding Present - Seamonsters

Sandro Matosevic
Ladytron - Witching Hour
The Moaners - Dark Snack
San Serac - Tyrant

Derek Miller
120 Days - 120 Days
VA - Superlongevity 2
Hot Chip - Various b-sides

Mallory O'Donnell
Justin Timberlake - FutureSex/LoveSounds
Beyonce - B'Day
Kashmere Stage Band - Texas Thunder Soul

Fergal O'Reilly
The Auteurs - How I Learned To Love The Bootboys
Kitsune Maison Vol. 2
Sparks - Indiscreet

Cameron Octigan
Nathan Fake - Drowning in a Sea of Love
Alex Smoke - Paradolia
Ricardo Villalobos - Achso EP

Mike Orme
Guillemots - Through the Windowpane
Colleen - Colleen et Les Boîtes à Musique
Hot Chip - The Warning

Peter Parrish
Psychedelic Furs - Forever Now
The House of Love - Complete Peel Sessions
Catherine Wheel - Adam & Eve

Mike Powell
Scritti Politti - White Bread, Black Beer
Miles Davis - Get Up With It
Boredoms - Soul Discharge

Tal Rosenberg
M83 - Before The Dawn Heals Us
The Roots - Game Theory
Brian Jonestown Massacre - Give It Back!

Barry Schwartz
Tahiti 80 - Fosbury
Portastatic - I Hope Your Heart is Not Brittle
Tokyo Police Club - A Lesson in Crime

Brad Shoup
Michael Nesmith - From a Radio Engine to the Photon Wing
The Tear Garden - Sheila Liked the Rodeo EP
Sam Moore - Plenty Good Lovin': The Lost Solo Album

Alfred Soto
Kirsty MacColl - Electric Landlady
Junior Boys - So This is Goodbye
50 Cent - Get Rich...

Nick Southall
Final Fantsay - He Poos Clouds
TV On The Radio - Return To Cookie Mountain
Embrace - "Thank God You Were Mean To Me"

Josh Timmermann
Prince - 3121
Prince - Graffiti Bridge
Prince - Lovesexy


Tal Rosenberg
Arrested Development Season 2
Wedding Crashers

Arthur Ryel-Lindsey
Little Miss Sunshine
Von Ryan's Express
A Knight's Tale

Brad Shoup
Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest

Alfred Soto
Arrested Development: Season One
The Flowers of Shanghai

Nick Southall

Josh Timmermann
Inside Man
The Three Burials of Melquiades Estrada
My Sex Life...or How I Got Into an Argument

Stewart Voegtlin
Dog Soldiers

Theon Weber
House, M.D. - season two
Buffy the Vampire Slayer - season two

Ethan White
The Tenant
Mr. Arkadin
Punishment Park

Justin Cober-Lake
One Day in September
Passage to India

Elizabeth Colville
My Summer of Love
Pride & Prejudice
Trust the Man

L. Michael Foote
Wild At Heart
Bad Timing
The Witches

Todd Hutlock
Arrested Development Season 3
Tod Browning's Freaks

Ian Mathers
Seeing Other People
Sapphire & Steel, series 1
Death Race 2000

Dave Micevic
Inside Man

Derek Miller
My Life Unravel

Jay Millikan
Superman Returns

Mallory O'Donnell
Snakes On A Plane

Fergal O'Reilly
Peep Show Series 1
The Wind That Shakes The Barley

Mike Orme
Bringing Up Baby
The Third Man
Frasier reruns, Lifetime

Mike Powell
Sherman's March


Elizabeth Colville
Swann's Way - Marcel Proust
The New Yorker, Sept 18, 2006
The Bounty - Derek Walcott

L. Michael Foote
Fanny, Edmund White
The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier & Clay, Michael Chabon

Todd Hutlock
John Cale & Victor Bockris - What's Welsh For Zen?

Thomas Inskeep
Andrew Beaujon - Body Piercing Saved My Life
Tim Lawrence - Love Saves the Day
Dave White - Exile in Guyville

Josh Love
Henry Adams - The Education of Henry Adams

Ian Mathers
Spinoza - Ethics
Plato - Phaedo
Greg Rucka/Jesus Saiz - Checkmate

Sandro Matosevic
JT Leroy - The Heart Is Deceitful Above All Things

Ron Mashate
Samuel Beckett - Murphy
William Gaddis - A Frolic Of His Own

Dave Micevic
Thomas Pynchon - V.

Derek Miller
Thomas Wolfe - You Can't Go Home Again

Jay Millikan
Richard Price - Clockers
Randy Shilts - And the Band Played On

Mallory O'Donnell
Simon Reynolds - Generation Ecstasy
Simon Frith - Music For Pleasure
Simon Reynolds - Rip It Up & Start Again

Fergal O'Reilly
David Peace - Nineteen Seventy-Four

Mike Orme
Salman Rushdie - The Ground Beneath her Feet

Peter Parrish
Raymond Chandler - The Big Sleep

Mike Powell
WG Sebald - The Rings of Saturn

Tal Rosenberg
Sarah Vowell - Take the Cannoli

Barry Schwartz
Philip Roth - American Pastoral

Brad Shoup
Earl Conrad - Typoo

Alfred Soto
Anthony Summers - The Arrogance of Power

Nick Southall
Stephen King - The Calling of the Three
Kurt Vonnegut - Breakfast of Champions

Josh Timmermann
Jonathan Franzen - The Twenty-Seventh City

Stewart Voegtlin
Cormac McCarthy, Suttree

Theon Weber
Norman Mailer - The Naked and the Dead

Ethan White
Linda Williams - Hard Core: Power, Pleasure, and the Frenzy of the Visible

Justin Cober-Lake
Umberto Eco - Baudolino
C.S. Lewis - The Screwtape Letters

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