Thursday, May 28, 2009

Crack Addict

Full review forthcoming, but in the meantime I will allow you to simply look and be jealous.

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Stream: Circulatory System - "This Morning (We Remembered Everything)"

In one of the most welcome returns in recent memory, Will Cullen Hart has unexpectedly regrouped his previously thought to be one-off post-Olivia Tremor Control band Circulatory System for a new album due out later this year. The resulting record, Signal Morning, is unquestionably one of my most anticipated releases for the remainder of '09, and CMG has an imeem stream of the first track to see the light of day thus far. (30 second preview below, or click the link to stream the full track)

No, seriously...

I was just thinking about how there aren't nearly enough truly organic modern cult films these days. And now, well, this....

(trailer via Incontention; DVD out now)

Sunday, May 24, 2009

"The White Ribbon" Wins the Palm d'Or!

After years of coming up just short, Michael Haneke has finally won a long overdue Palm d'Or for his new film The White Ribbon (pictured above). Meanwhile, Jacques Audiard's prison drama A Prophet took home the Grand Jury Prix (equivalent of 2nd place), a nice show of support for what many had previously thought was the Palm front runner. On the acting side of the equation, Charlotte Gainsbourg took home the Best Actress prize for her said-to-be punishing turn in Lars Von Trier's ridiculously controversial Antichrist. Personally, I saw this one coming, since it seemed unlikely that the jury could let such a hotly debated film go home empty handed. More surprisingly then is Christoph Waltz's Best Actor victory for Quentin Tarantino's Inglourious Basterds, yet another film that split opinions rather divisively. In any case it's good to see another Tarantino film finally getting some awards attention. Whether this translates into any kind of recognition on this side of the pond remains to be seen however.

Other than that, there was a tie for the Jury Prize (Fish Tank and Thirst respectively), while Brilliante Mendoza took the Best Director prize for Kinatay. On paper, the most glaring omission would seem to be Jane Campion's return-to-form period piece Bright Star, but from the looks of it, this particular film seems like something that would probably play better with American voting bodies. And that's that-- thus ends this year's Cannes film Festival, and for some reviews on a handful of this year's most talked about films, check out Sam Mac's coverage over at InRO and The Playlist.

Full list of winners (via Incontention):

Palme d’Or: “The White Ribbon”

Grand Prix: “A Prophet”

Special Jury Prize: Alain Resnais

Best Actor: Christoph Waltz, “Inglourious Basterds”

Best Actress: Charlotte Gainsbourg, “Antichrist”

Best Director: Brillante Mendoza, “Kinatay”

Best Screenplay: Feng Mei, “Spring Fever”

Jury Prize: “Fish Tank” and “Thirst” (tie)

Camera d’Or (Best Debut Feature): “Samson and Delilah”

Camera d’Or (Special Mention): “Ajami”

Palme d’Or (Best Short Film): “Arena”

Saturday, May 23, 2009

Podcast: End of Radio #4 - 'Music Like Escaping Gas'

"Delayed for technical reasons beyond our control, End of Radio #4 arrives late but no less relevant: This is another “random” show, like the last one, where Jordan and Brian choose tracks of no specific theme or genre, some new and some old. It’s cool music for cool people, one song has “taxidermy” in the title and Richard Simmons is featured as a special guest. You don’t want to miss this one."

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

"A Prophet" Teaser

As you probably know by now, the 2009 Cannes Film Festival is in full-swing. We are now at the half way point of the two week fest, and despite the overwhelming reaction (both good and, well, terrible) to Lar Von Trier's Antichrist, at this point the odds-on-favorite for the Palm D'or looks to be Jacques Audiard's A Prophet. I honestly know little about this entry, but the mounting buzz has certainly peaked my interest. Guy Lodge over at Incontention has now pointed to a teaser for the French prison drama, and it certainly looks like a film to keep an eye on.

Thursday, May 14, 2009

"The Road" Trailer

Here it is, the long-awaited trailer for John Hillcoat's The Road, adapted by Joe Penhall from the Cormac McCarthy novel of the same name. It looks like the producers are frantically trying to put butts in the seats with this trailer, which is admirable and all, but I have a dinstinct feeling that the finished film will bear little resemblance to this acion-oriented first look. (via Awardsdaily)

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Pretty Cool (for me at least)

If you followed my Newport Beach Film Fest coverage late last month, you're already probably aware of my respect for one film in particular, Patrick Coyle's haunting morality tale Into Temptation. This is a mature, confident artistic statement from Coyle, and I've had a good back-and-forth with him over the last couple weeks about my respect for his accomplishment. As a result, it seems Coyle and the Into Temptation marketing team have graciously included my Newport capsule review in their press materials for the film. You can check it out at the official Into Temptation website, here. Despite the ever-evolving conflict of interest, this is certainly one to seek out when it does finally hit theaters (hopefully this year).

Music Review: Japandroids - Post-Nothing (***)

"Not to limit it to just one accomplishment, but Post-Nothing, the debut album from Vancouver’s raucous Japandroids, stakes a mighty impressive claim for exuberant, no-bullshit indie-rock in this day and age of endless subgenre tagging. Probably the most appropriately titled musical document of 2009 thus far, Post-Nothing finds this guitar-and-drums duo from north of the border kicking out the jams in a fashion you’re probably not quite expecting—i.e. not buried underneath sheets of lo-fidelity fuzz; not obscuring their melodies; not aimlessly wandering through endless guitar textures to pad-out a slight frame." [Continue Reading]

Music Review: Crocodiles - Summer of Hate (**)

"Summer of Hate, the debut album from San Diego-based lo-fi rock band Crocodiles, has rather unexpectedly become one of this year’s most interesting talking points. Over the course of 34 suspiciously familiar minutes, Summer of Hate evokes the age-old question: When does re-contextualizing influences to suit your own stylistic needs cross over into outright theft? Or, more plainly, when does the line begin to blur between loving homage and blatant derivation? Some of my favorite records of the decade, from Turn on the Bright Lights to Echoes, make no apologies for their debt to the heroes of the past. Acknowledging this, how can one defend a particular band while deriding another for applying the same tactics, and where do the double-standards of rock criticism start to come into play? What I’ve always felt it comes done to then—as it should with music—is the quality of the material itself. It’s pretty simple: Are the songs any good? And, in the case of Summer of Hate, the answer is a tentative “yeah, sometimes.” [Continure Reading]

Saturday, May 9, 2009

"Whatever Works" Trailer

If you've been in conversation with me over the last few months, you've probably been made privy to my goal of watching every single film Woody Allen has ever directed before the release of his newest film, Whatever Works. Anyway, I only have a handful of late 90s/early 00's product to sift through (the dark days, I know), but in the meantime here we have the trailer for Whatever Works. Woody Allen trailers rarely ever interest me, and this one is no different, but based on what we have here, I will be most interested in seeing if Larry David can carry his own feature length film. I'm really hoping he doesn't try and channel Woody too much either, although it could be argued that is exactly what he has been doing for the last decade-plus. Regardless, I'll be there opening day.

Friday, May 8, 2009

Download: Glass Candy / Chromatics - Various CDRs, Demos, Live Sessions etc.

These have been floating around blogosphere for a number of days now, but I wanted to check everything out before I posted anything about it. Anyway, three different blogs have recently taken on the herculean task of uploading dozens of rare & out-of-print tour CDRs, demos, live sessions and various other ephemera from the likes of Italians Do It Better stalwarts Glass Candy and Chromatics. Taken together, this is an absolute treasure trove of music, and while I can almost guarantee I will never have the time to listen to every single one of these releases, just having them on my hard drive for posterity's sake gives me a genuinely satisfying thrill. I can't seem to get Glass Candy's 2112 Tour EP or Music Dream to unzip correctly, but everything else seems to be working fine. Through these small-run releases you can now quite easily chart these two groups' development from mangy no-wave inspired noise acts to sleek Italo-disco revivalists. If you do decide to take the intimidating plunge, it can be quite the journey to witness first-hand.

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Podcast: End of Radio #3 - 'For Your Pleasure'

Following two theme-oriented shows, Jordan and Brian cut loose and just play some of their favorite tracks from all over the map. Oh, and they’re not drunk this time, which is a plus.

Music Review: The Dukes of the Stratosphear - 25 O'Clock / Psonic Psunspot (Reissue) (*** / ***1/2)

"As a rock band, it’s one thing to filter your collective influences into your own sound. This is, after all, how most bands operate. Yet it’s another thing entirely to reinvent yourself with a whole new set of ideals, completely transforming the band from the inside-out. This is exactly what English art-rock titans XTC did in 1985, following the release of their rather jagged Big Express LP: After a number of years maturing their off-kilter brand of post-punk and new wave, Andy Partridge and the boys of XTC inexplicably donned their paisley prints and dowdy coifs, adopting an array of hallucinogenic names such Lord Cornelius Plum (Dave Gregory), The Red Curtain (Colin Moulding), Sir John Johns (Partridge) and E.I.E.I Owens (Ian Gregory, the only non-XTC member). They would shroud the project even further as they decided to work under the mysterious pseudonym The Dukes of the Stratosphear, thus birthing an alternate reality 60s psych-pop band smack dab in the middle of the Reagan-era. Now, nearly 25 years later, the band's only two records, the 25 O’Clock mini-album and the full-length Psonic Psunspot LP, are being given the long-overdue reissue treatment, marking the first time these two mid-80s gems are seeing proper CD release, only having been previously culled on the long out-of-print Chips from the Chocolate Fireball compilation. " [Continue Reading]

Sunday, May 3, 2009

"Tetro" Trailer

Although he arguably hasn't presented a completely successful story in well over a decade (although I was one of the few defenders of Youth Without Youth), Francis Ford Coppola films will forever remain must see experiences if for no other reason than the technical prowess on display. Based on this long-awaited trailer, Coppola's new film Tetro looks to be another marvel of cinematography, editing and aesthetic precision. And in an ever-shrinking independent film landscape, his films will remain important statements of purpose, regardless of the end result.