Thursday, November 30, 2006

Film round-up

The Prestige: great performances from Bale, Jackman, Caine, and Bowie (as Nikolai Tesla!), shot gorgeously, a bit long, and a bit too clever-clever for its own good. B+

The Departed: simply the best film I've yet seen of 2006, and possibly Scorcese's finest work since Raging Bull. Searing perfs (especially DiCaprio, Damon, and Wahlberg - oh, and did you hear that a guy named Nicholson's in it?), crackling script - fuckin' A, it's Scorcese doing a gangster movie again. If that's not enough for you, nothing will be. A+

Borat: not the funniest film ever, maybe not even of this year (though I can't think of what beats it), but it's extremely funny nonetheless. Sacha Baron Cohen goes there and just keeps going, for which I give him a lot of credit. If you wait for DVD, you won't miss much of anything, but do see it at some point, unless you have no tolerance for filthy (and I mean filthy) language. This film earns its "R" rating. A-

Little Children: these autumn films are all about performances, aren't they? Winslet is superb, but I found Patrick Wilson even better (and OHMYGOD that's a beautiful ass) and Jackie Earl Haley the best. Haley, particularly, deserves an Oscar nomination for his work. The direction can be a bit off-putting, but I respect Todd Field for having a very clear vision and sticking to it. A-

Marie Antoinette: I keep coming back to this one in my head, and it seems better each time. Visually lush, all popping colors and jaw-dropping set pieces (filming at Versailles helps), but with very good acting - Kirsten Dunst is perfectly cast as the teenage queen - and sure direction. Not a masterpiece, but better than you may have been led to believe. It's surprisingly sad, too. (Oh, and Coppola's use of anachroistic music works a charm, mainly because it fits these characters [cf. "Hong Kong Garden"]. The soundtrack, which needs all of its two discs, is superb.) See this on a big screen if at all possible, though if you require lots of plot, maybe not so much. B+ - but one I'm going to cherish for some time.

Still to be seen: The Queen, Babel, The History Boys, Volver.

Tuesday, November 28, 2006

RuPaul - "Supermodel (You Better Work)" (Supermodel of the World, Tommy Boy, 1993)

Just because. Feel the love.

Monday, November 27, 2006

John Coltrane - "I Just Want to Talk About You" (Soultrane, Impulse!, 1958)

God, I'm a sucker for brushed snares.

Tuesday, November 21, 2006

Country Coachella

Now, this is a Coachella I can get excited about. (More good country news: KKGO going country means that I'll actually be able to hear country radio in L.A. again. [Most folks away from the coast can't pick up 540AM, where country currently resides on the dial.])

Monday, November 20, 2006

Miracles happen

Unbelievably, Rupert Murdoch has done the right thing. First time for everything, but this is an especially nice first time.

Thursday, November 16, 2006

Great random segue of the day, from my Launchcast: from Shawnna's "Gettin' Some" to Cyndi Lauper's "She Bop." "Messin' with the danger zone," indeed.

Tuesday, November 14, 2006

Robert Ellis Orral with Carlene Carter - "I Couldn't Say No"

This is an alternate-universe version of Richard Thompson (who Orral most resembles vocally) by way of Nick Lowe, which makes perfect sense - it was produced by Roger Bechirian, who (according to the indispensible Allmusic) worked behind the boards for the likes of Costello, Graham Parker, Dave Edmunds, Squeeze... the whole Brit new wave/power-pop mafia, basically. Oh, and he produced Lowe's Abominable Showman as well. Lowe's wife in 1983? Carlene daughter-of-June Carter. Completely forgotten now (it only peaked at #32 US, and was from a friggin' EP, for pete's sake), "I Couldn't Say No" is a tough little piano-driven power-pop nugget worth tracking down. (It's also notable as most folks' intro to Carter, who'd go on to bigger things as a more straightforward country artist in the early '90s.) There are no listings at all for Orral on eBay; maybe you can find him at iTunes? Somehow, I doubt it, and that's sad.

Friday, November 10, 2006

Top 10 Plus

Top __ Songs of All-Time, basically off the top of my head.*

1. Carly Simon, "Why" (Mirage 1982)
2. Marvin Gaye, "When Did You Stop Loving Me, When Did I Stop Loving You" (Motown 1978)

3. Rhythim Is Rhythim, "Strings of Life" (Transmat 1987)
4. Public Enemy, "Bring the Noise" (Def Jam 1987)
5. The Smiths, "How Soon Is Now" (Rough Trade import 1983)
6. George Jones, "He Stopped Loving Her Today" (Epic 1980)

7. Stardust, "Music Sounds Better With You" (Virgin 1998)
8. Stephanie Mills and Teddy Pendergrass, "Two Hearts" (20th Century 1981)
9. Aretha Franklin, "Call Me" (Atlantic 1970)

10. Daryl Hall & John Oates, "Your Imagination" (RCA 1981)
11. Massive Attack, "Unfinished Sympathy" (Virgin 1991)

12. Public Enemy, "Fight the Power" (Motown 1989)

13. Chaka Khan, "What Cha' Gonna Do For Me" (Warner Bros. 1981)
14. Prince and the Revolution, "I Would Die 4 U" (Warner Bros. 1984)
15. Boz Scaggs, "Lowdown" (Columbia 1976)
16. Sheila E., "The Glamorous Life" (Warner Bros. 1984)

17. Shannon, "Let the Music Play" (Mirage 1983)
18. Diana Ross, "No One Gets the Prize/The Boss" (Motown promo 1979)
19. Chic, "At Last I Am Free" (Atlantic 1978)
20. Madonna, "Vogue" (Sire 1990)

21. Aphex Twin, "Windowlicker" (Sire 1999)
22. Parliament, "Chocolate City" (Casablance 1975)
23. Janet Jackson, "The Pleasure Principle" (A&M 1987)
24. Me'shell Ndegeocello, "Soul Searchin' (I Wanna Know If It's Mine)" (Epic Soundtrax 1995)

25. Fleetwood Mac, "Gypsy" (Warner Bros. 1982)
26. Missy Elliott, "Work It" (The Gold Mind 2001)
27. Prince, "Sexy MF" (Paisley Park 1992)
28. OutKast, "B.O.B." (LaFace 2000)

*Continually updated whenever.

Gerald Levert, 1966-2006

From HITS Daily Double:

LEVERT PASSES: R&B singer Gerald Levert died today after suffering a fatal heart attack at the age of 40. Levert, also known as "G-Bear" to his fans, is featured on Styles P's upcoming album Time Is Money. The soul star was working on a reality show that featured him losing weight along with 12 of his female fans, who lived and trained with Levert for 30 days. Gerald Levert's father Eddie is the lead singer of the O'Jays. Levert scored pop success as a member of the R&B group LeVert and as a member of LSG with Keith Sweat and Johnny Gill. He later hit big with singles like "Casanova," "Pop, Pop, Pop, Pop (Goes My Mind)," "Mr. Too Damn Good to You" and others.

Give a spin to LeVert's "Pop, Pop, Pop, Pop" (which I dearly love) or "Casanova" (ditto, both available on their solid Best of), or G's "Private Line" (the title cut from his 1991 solo debut - remarkably, and sadly, there's yet to be a compilation of his solo work), and raise a glass of something smooth in his honor. One of the great soul voices of the '80s and '90s will be sorely missed. R.I.P., Gerald.

(Cross-posted at Back and Forth.)


"Recent years haven't been totally unproductive, though: Teany, Moby's flavored iced tea brand, is pretty good."

Man, in case there was any doubt, he's still got it; the sentence above made me laugh out very loud. Best of luck with the whole back-to-Seattle thing, M.

Tuesday, November 07, 2006

Fast forward

-Why is the Jason Nevins Club Mix with Breakdown of Kelly Clarkson's "Because of You" so great? Because it may be the GAYEST. THING. EVER. (See also Ernie's KC experience.)

-It appears that Kellie Pickler's Small Town Girl and Carrie Underwood's Some Hearts will be #1 and #2 on this week's Billboard Hot Country Albums chart. Which, of course, means that Fred Bronson's head will explode on Thursday.

-If you didn't vote (US, duh) today, you're a big loser.

Why I Love Wonkette

From Wonkette's 2006 Midterm Binge Drinking Game!:

Lightning Round:

*Brit Hume weeps on-air: Entire bottle of champagne, one Xanax.
*Jack Cafferty punches Wolf Blitzer in the mouth: Three shots of bourbon, vomit on remote.
*Katherine Harris wins: Have a “Crying Jesus” — two rails of meth and then give your Republican neighbor a blowjob.
*Exit polls completely “wrong,” GOP actually keeps the House and Senate and most governorships: Bottle of absinthe, pack of Camels, shoot dog.

It's 6pm EST - the first Indiana and Kentucky districts have closed! Let the fun begin!


Friday, November 03, 2006

More reasons to love YouTube... least until their new Google overlords make them remove all copyrighted material, leaving the site the province of stupid teenagers with cameras...

Not only did I discover the video for the one and only hit (#28 on the Billboard Hot 100) by Oxo (the song's better than its video, but bear in mind that it was 1983):

But I also found this segment of a documentary on the group's bassist, made by his stepson. It's rather sad (make sure you read the rather illuminating comments posted from the doc's maker), but boy am I interested in seeing more:

The internet is a magical place, kids.

Big shiny tunes*

I realized today, updating my '06 Singles list, that the vast majority of my top 10 (20, even) are well-polished gems from big big stars - cf. Jay-Z, Madonna, J-Tim, Beyoncé. As far as this year's pop crop goes, it hasn't been half-bad (as long as you ignore the likes of the tabloid queens. And Fergie).

(New in my top 10: Ciara's "Promise," all the more stunning as it's produced by the stupidly-named Polow da Don, who's responsible for two of my least-favorite singles of '06 in PCD's "Buttons" and Fergie's "London Bridge.")

*Yes, Ian and Sam and any other Canuck readers I might have, I'm aware this is the name of a long-running Muchmusic-branded series of compilations. That was intentional.

Wednesday, November 01, 2006

This just in: John Kerry is a fucking tool. Does he want to lose THIS election for the Dems, too?!

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