The Little Band That Could Is Back!

It's been a while since I saw Tristan Clopet and his amazing band back in June of 2009, but they've never been far from my thoughts. Mostly because I play their debut album, Duende, quite often. I re-read my review of Duende just a couple of days ago and had to smile; with as much praise as I'd heaped upon the album, the words seemed immature and not quite what I wanted them to be. I needed to grow as a writer, more specifically a review writer. And as I looked back on the review and listened to Duende for the nth time, it occurred to me that Tristan Clopet & the Juice also needed to grow into what they needed to be.

When I finally listened to Purple, I couldn't help but feel like the boys were exactly where they needed to be.

Purple, much to my surprise, actually doesn't play through like an EP, but instead stands on its own as LP. Right from the beginning chords of "Proximity Bomb" (which has the most epic opening of a song since Coldplay's 2008 fan favorite, "Viva la Vida" -- and yes, I know, two very different bands and two very different songs, but the sentiment remains the same), I could hear that the music was a little more polished, a little tighter, the band members a little more complementary of each other. Where Duende gave me vague feelings of times and seasons and emotions, Purple thrusts them all into focus and makes them tangible experiences.

"Proximity Bomb", "So Alive" and "Superficiality Is a Sin" were my favorite tracks off the album, with "Proximity Bomb" holding the #1 spot on the album and for me, personally. Aside from the epic opening, which sets the stage for the rest of the album, the lyrics and the beat were at the same time fun, scattered, and incredibly intricately interwoven. The drum solo from 2:17 - 2:27 was a special treat, one to which I have only this to say: Hello, Dan Hammler! "Proximity Bomb" takes a step back from Tristan's signature funk sound into something a bit heavier, a bit more 'rock'. Once again, Tristan & the Juice leave me struggling for a word to somehow sum up their music, and again they prove that there just isn't any label for them.

"So Alive" slides right into play, low-key and surprisingly sensuous, and takes hold rather quickly. It's a throw-back to the power ballads everyone's parents knew and grew up with. My notes on the song actually says 'Kick-ass power ballads are back!', underlined about twenty times. I even cast about for a lighter. There's something simply beautiful about this song that made me want to lie down on a patch of sun-soaked carpet and just bask. Like Duende's "Oceans" and Purple's "Love and a Question", it's a very liquid arrangement, but somehow warmer and weightier.

Returning to the funk sound I first fell in love with, "Superficiality Is a Sin" immediately took me out of my sun-soaked sprawl on the floor and coaxed me back into the mindset I was in when I heard Duende's "Concrete Dreams" and "Your Love Is a Drug": tasting sex and bittersweet musk while being wrapped up in sleazy, wonderful words that flow as easily as any kind of liquor.

"Ethereal Evidence" and "Black Panther Party" were a lot of fun and I had a blast dancing around to them (which I did and I regret nothing), but they were the weakest of the album. I can't quite put my finger on why; there's just something not quite there. I don't want to say 'soulless', because that isn't the case, but a piece was missing and I couldn't connect with them the way I could with the other four.

Regardless, Tristan's voice was made for these songs, the quickly-sung (almost rapped) lyrics that trip and pause and start up again without faltering or stumbling while paired with a voice and musical arrangement so hot that even fire would melt. It's an odd dichotomy that works. Tristan may be the eponymous lead singer, but he would be nothing without his amazing band, and vice versa. The repartee they have with each other is seamless. I remember when I saw them live my friend turned to me and said something about a well-oiled machine. That's not even it. It's like listening to a single entity. They're just perfect for each other, almost to a degree that is truly stupid. Other bands wish they had this level of ease between their members. And if they keep maturing and connecting at this rate, everyone else is going to be left in the dust.

I wanted to end this review with some snappy one-liner before I rated the album, but I couldn't find the words for one. Instead, I found myself thinking that when I first reviewed Duende, Tristan Clopet & the Juice was the little band that could. Now, they're the band that could, did, and will continue to do it.

I can only imagine what else is going to be added to that list when their next album comes out. The mind boggles.

I give Purple 5 out of 5.


Review coming soon...

I've come to the startling conclusion that lesson plans are the lovechildren of the devil and the Department of Education. One day, they will release their barbed wire-encrusted grip on me and I will be free to have an evening to myself. To read, or finish a screenplay, or go to a concert, or have any semblance of a life.

Until then, I am up to my eyeballs in rationales and ongoing assessments, and the online reviews will have to be put on indefinite hiatus. Not that it matters, since most of you read them in hard copy.

If I have the time, I'll be posting the reviews of Jericho's "Smoke Signals", Season 5 of Supernatural, Season 1 of Glee, my unimpressed thoughts on FlashForward (or, as I call it in my mind, CAN'T DEAL WITH JOSEPH FIENNES'S EMO WHERE'S THE FUCKING REMOTE?!), an incredibly late review of Frightened Rabbit's "The Midnight Organ Flight", and much more!

... If I have time.


Tristan Clopet & the Juice: Live at the All Asia (06.26.09)

Until June 26, 2009, my 23-year old best friend had never seen a live show.

I know.

Prior to last night, I would take a few minutes out of my day, every week, to check Live Aid and Ticketmaster in hopes of finding a band coming to Boston that I could take my best friend to see. But it never worked out; either she didn't care for the bands playing, or tickets were just too expensive. I was still determined, however, to be the one to take her to see her very first live show.

Then, one day, I received a Facebook message from the lead vocalist of one of my favorite bands, a band whose EP album I'd reviewed a while back, who told me that they were coming to Boston and would love to see me there. It was perfect. Little did I know that it was the CNC Indie Music Marathon, which meant my best friend would be exposed to several bands instead of just the one. It was something I was grateful for. I wanted her to have different sounds to compare, to see different set changes and the multitude of different instruments used. But it made me wonder just who she would be raving about by the night's end.

Unsurprisingly, it was Tristan Clopet & the Juice.

I'm not saying that because I am somewhat biased where this band is concerned, but rather because their sound was superior to the other bands playing. They definitely had competition from New York-based band, The Gypsy West, but still came out on top – as far as my best friend was concerned.

I'm inclined to agree. I spoke with Tristan after the performance and he bemoaned how it had sounded; after all, his admittedly large band had to contend with the little All Asia bar and their less-than-ideal acoustics. However, sometimes it's less about the actual sound and more about stage presence and the rapport a band has with its audience. Tristan Clopet & the Juice was the best of the evening not only because their music was more innovative than any of the other acts', but also because they were down on our level.

The band plays in such a way that it feels almost as if they are playing solely for you. They make eye contact; they smile at you, with you, almost as if you are sharing a joke that only you know. Their dialog with the audience was limited due to time constraints, but it was cheeky and fun, especially during the band member introductions. They were relaxed, comfortable in their skins like they had come out of the womb with their instruments, which made everyone in the bar that night as contented as they. Their songs slid seamless into one another, making it so the air was always filled with some type of music, whether it be the skipping roll of the guitar or an impressive drum solo performed by the entire band.

In addition to having my great expectations met, there were also two surprises for me last night. The first would be the actual band, itself. I had no idea their band and set-up was so large. Two drum sets, complete with bongos, two guitarists, a bassist, and one keyboardist amid a dozen different instruments (although the many drum sets would aid them in their last song, where they went out with a bang). Although their set-up was big, it wasn't a hindrance. All instruments were used, and not one of the band members had a hard time navigating through them. I've seen bands with large set-ups that have the performers practically swimming through them aimlessly; Tristan & the Juice were well-rehearsed and perfectly synchronized. Would they benefit more from playing bigger venues? Definitely, but they didn't let the size of All Asia to hamper them in any way.

The second surprise would be that the band has a new keyboardist, Alejandro Elizondo, who was incredibly impressive. I'm looking at the notes I took last night at the show and the first thing I wrote was "new keyboardist is made of win". It's true. Alejandro isn't just limited to his stellar keyboarding: he also plays guitar and drums – a little one-man band all on his own. It was definitely a good move for an already great band to have added him.

After my best friend got EPs from the other bands playing, as well as a t-shirt, we left All Asia at about 1:30am to make the drive home. Her first words upon entering our car were, "Tristan's band was the best out of anyone we saw, hands down." When I asked her why, she looked at me like I was brain damaged and said, "Because they were playing for us, not at us."

Who can argue with that?

Performance: *****
Music: *****
Presence: *****
Overall: *****


Westboro Baptist Church: Number 1 on God's Shit List

The Westboro Baptist Church (ie: those crazy people from Kansas) is going to picket Natasha Richardson's funeral.

This is from their "news release":

"Thank God for the Bunny Slope of Cursed Quebec, Canada!
She lived in adultery with Robert Fox (he had a living wife).
She raised her sons in the catholic pedophile whorehouse.
She enabled feces-eating fag beasts by supporting AIDS research.
She had a megaphone; she should have done her duty, to love her neighbor; but she hated her neighbor, so she failed to warn them not to be proud sinners."

It's just kind of funny, because God facebooked me six hours before and said he was going to come down and picket the WBC.

It's unfortunate that there are people like this still around, passing their message of hate onto their kids and their kids' kids.

But look on the bright side! It's only a matter of time before evolution weeds them out.

Source (Don't click it if you can help it)



R.I.P. Natasha Richardson


You will be missed.


Quis custodiet ipsos custodes? (The "Watchmen" review)

The above question was first asked by the Roman poet Juvenal, which translates to "who watches the watchmen?" or "who guards the guardians?" Socrates also was asked the question, and in Plato's The Republic, his answer is simple: they will guard themselves against themselves.

But the real question is, who will guard me against mediocrity?

I have a soft spot for Watchmen. The graphic novel, that is. It really opened doors for me, showed me how unconventional fiction can be, how the structure isn't always limited to simple words and paragraphs, but can unfold right before your eyes. I remember finishing it for the first time, about six years ago, breathless and shaking and refusing to believe it was over. This, I thought, is the Great Modern Novel everyone's always talking about, right here in my hands, all 416 pages of it.

When they announced a film adaptation, I was psyched for a split second before I realized that they were going to allow an industry that doesn't believe in making films for the sheer art of it to film an unfilmable subject.

Needless to say, I wasn't too thrilled with the film.

Yes, to the haters who will probably hunt me down and firebomb my car, it was practically panel-for-panel. But that can limit a film, especially when you're also lifting dialog that just doesn't translate well from the page to the screen. Rorschach's narration was awkward and unbelievable at times. Each scene worked if you viewed them individually, but not as a whole. The direction and flow of the movie was so disjointed that I actually stopped caring at one point. Cohesion? Why would you ever need that in a film?

Don't even get me started on the laughable soundtrack. Or the uncomfortable sex scene (which Zach Snyder seems to just LOVE putting in his films... Remember 300?). I was disappointed in the lack of character development, too.

There were some character changes that I just didn't enjoy. One of which being Rorschach's coherence. In the novel, he's rather... um, fucking insane? Is that the word I'm looking for? Yes, I do believe it is.

I also didn't enjoy how sinister Veidt was. In the novel, he always seemed at least a little human, but in the movie he really came off as cold and calculating. Even his rationale about the detonation and the resulting fallout was just so... inhuman. I was really upset that the "I did it!!" scene from the novel never made it in, since it was such an emotional reaction. But sacrifices must be made in the transition from page to film.

Dr. Manhattan's character was changed, too. And he was also hung like a friggin' draft horse.

However, errors and bad decisions aside, the casting was rather brilliant, Jackie Earle Haley and Matthew Goode in particular. Both slipped into their roles with frightening ease and really stole the show. Patrick Wilson, who is a fantastic actor, really sold me as Nite Owl II, not afraid to show the audience that boyish charm and conscience that we see in the novel. However, it was Carla Gugino as Silk Spectre I and Jeffrey Dean Morgan as The Comedian who really captured my attention. Casting JDM was a stroke of pure genius -- he's exactly as I pictured The Comedian in my head, right down to the jaunty gait and his smoke-over-gravel voice. Ms. Gugino shone as the aging hero, the bitter quirk to her lips telling of a lifetime of unhappy stories and countless disappointments. She was fantastic.

My only qualms were with Malin Akermann and Billy Crudup as Silk Spectre II and Dr. Manhattan, respectively. Akermann definitely had the look down, but I couldn't stand her. Her acting was dry and lifeless, and she showed no facial expressions whatsoever. Even after learning a very important secret, there was no emotion. I watched her, thinking, "Fortunately Snyder wanted no reaction from her in this movie". As far as Crudup goes... I don't know what it was, but he rubbed me the wrong way. Which is funny, because I'd normally let that man rub me however he wants. I just don't think he was right for the part, although he definitely looked like Ostermann, pre-accident.

The opening credits left me breathless, though. I thought they were absolutely perfect and will probably go down in history as the best of their kind. Kudos, yU+Co Design & Animation!

Overall, the film kept me rather detached throughout and I didn't actually leave satisfied as so many Watchmen fans did. Which is a shame, because I really wanted to. That being said, as many faults as it has, I think this is as good of an adaptation as we'll ever get.

The unfilmable film still remains as such.

I give Watchmen 3.5 out of 5.


T-1000 in "Terminator 5"?

Seems so, kids! Fan-favorite Robert Patrick is in talks to play a scientist in Terminator 5, which would be ALL TOO COOL BECAUSE HE NEEDS TO BE IN EVERY MOVIE EVER.

"I like the idea in a prospective next picture that you meet Robert Patrick the way he looks today, and he’s a scientist that’s working on improving cell replication so we can stay healthier and we can cure juvenile diabetes and all these things that once again sound like good ideas — and once again live as an idealized expression of ourselves. So imagine seeing a sixty-year-old Robert Patrick and knowing, ‘Holy shit! That’s gonna be the T-1000 – who comes back perfect, lean and the whole thing.’ I haven’t concluded that, but Robert and I had dinner the other night and talked about it."

Maybe they'll end the franchise with 5. Or maybe McG will beat it to death. Either way, ROBERT PATRICK!!



Hollywood Needs a Shot of Originality, Part II

Matt Reeves (Cloverfield) is remaking Tomas Alfredson's hit, Let The Right One In. You know, the Swedish vampire film that came out LAST YEAR?

This is ridiculous. Is nothing safe? Is nothing sacred?





Hollywood Needs a Shot of Originality

I've been working up to this for a long time, ever since I started keeping a tally on all of the announcements on Oh No They Didn't. A very long time. When The Fugitive was one of them, I could feel myself boiling over. And then The Neverending Story joined the list and I exploded all over the fucking walls.

About five minutes ago, I compiled a list of remakes, sequels, and adaptations that just SHOULDN'T HAPPEN. I understand that some movies need to be remade because they were so horrible the first time, but seriously? Can't we let masterpieces be?

The answer is, of course, no. Because Hollywood is run by a bunch of pansies who are too afraid to try something new, so they enlist writers (and they're all a bunch of sell-outs for going along with this) to make "reboots" of franchises with nary a care for respecting some of the movies they're murdering remaking.

For those who are protesting my words because they loved the remake of The Amityville Horror just so fucking much, let me ask you: would you remake The Fugitive, nominated for an Oscar for Best Picture and winner of Best Actor (Tommy Lee Jones, 1993)? I'm hoping your answer is no. What about My Fair Lady, Audrey Hepburn's most famous film and winner of 8 Oscars including Best Picture and Director? How about the Japanese fan-favorite, Battle Royale?

Well, guess what? They're ALL being remade! Mm, makes you die a little inside, doesn't it?

It's not just remakes, either. As I'm sure you've noticed, they're churning out sequels and adaptations faster than I can type this rant. Remember when everyone went up in arms about the Donnie Darko sequel, S. Darko? They didn't stop there. You can add Tron 2 and Monsters Inc. 2 to that list. Yes, that's right. Pixar's jumping on the sequel-making bandwagon, although you can expect cinematic gold from them (Toy Story 2 was a hit and possibly better than the first one, but will Toy Story 3, due out in 2010, be as good?).

Video Games, classic novels, and old TV shows have been adapted for the big screen ever since Ang Lee had the brilliant idea to take The Incredible Hulk and turn it into suck. This was soon followed by video game adaptations of Hitman, Street Fighter, and the upcoming Tekken. For those fans of Jane Austen's work and have enjoyed the adaptations of Pride and Prejudice, Sense and Sensibility, and Emma, I'm sure you'll be thrilled to hear that an adaptation of Pride and Prejudice is being made... with the Predator aliens. No, you read that right.

There are some adaptations I'm looking forward to, such as Max Brooks's World War Z, but there are some things that should stay as they are. Like, Twilight. Should it have been made into a movie? Absolutely not. A shitty book series can only beget shitty movies.

But Hollywood doesn't even seem to be trying anymore. It's as if all of the good ideas stopped as soon as 1997 came and went. The 1970's were prime and produced some of the best movies ever made. But the 2000s have only proven that Old Hollywood is over and this new commercialized Hollywood will only kill movies as we know it.

Look at the new Dragonball movie and tell me I'm wrong.

So, I think it's time for a whole new generation of writers to set things straight. More studios need to pick up indie films to balance out the shit that is being thrust into the theaters. It's all about money now, not the art.

Hollywood needs a shot of originality; someone get me a syringe.

Remakes (Recent and Upcoming):
- The Neverending Story
- The Fugitive
- My Fair Lady
- A Nightmare on Elm Street
- Hellraiser
- Total Recall
- Clue
- The Last House on the Left
- Battle Royale
- Race to Witch Mountain
- Wolfman
- Day of the Triffids

Upcoming Sequels:
- Scream 4
- Cloverfield 2
- Monsters Inc. 2
- Toy Story 3
- Little Fockers
- Tron 2
- Donnie Darko 2 (S. Darko)

- Pride and Predator (I seriously am not kidding)
- Dragonball
- Tekken
- Avatar: The Last Airbender
- Blood: The Last Vampire
- Halloween 2
- The A-Team

The Neverending Story remake
The Fugitive remake


Cautious Chemists: Providing the Soundtrack to the Subconscious

The small snippet of their work that we’re given on their Myspace page makes it very clear that the Cautious Chemists are presenting us with the soundtrack to the subconscious. Their playlist yields four songs, and only one of them plays just over three minutes, leaving us with fragments of words and sound that are startlingly easy to piece together. They do so much with so little.

Brian Leak (vocals/bass) and Bryan Layne (guitar/vocals), or B² as I'm calling them in my head, bring an experimental sound that makes me feel as though I'm in a dream, or in that place between asleep and awake, listening to vague whispers in the next room. "Sailing", the longest song on the playlist, plays out the role of the ocean, late morning, on a calm day. I'm very much a visual listener, so I sat back in my chair and soaked up the overly-bright sun provided for me by the hypnotic strings of the guitar and the soft vocals of (I'm guessing) Brian. It's not so much a song as it is a quiet, unassuming experience.

This review is, unfortunately, short due to the lack of other songs and information about the band, but I hope it will encourage others to go take a listen. It won't take long, but it will definitely stay with you.


Tristan Clopet & The Juice: Best Upcoming Band in the History of Ever?

When I was first contacted by Tristan Clopet & The Juice, for some reason I thought, “This’d better not be another Christian rock group. How do these people find me?”

Luckily, they weren’t a Christian rock group. Not that there’s anything wrong with being a Christian rock group.

After listening to “Concrete Dreams”, the first song on their debut album Duende, I was intrigued. Then “End of an Era” began and I was sold. Although they claim to be Alt/Funk/Ghettotech, I found so much more in their music. In a world full of poseurs and mediocrity, I was pleasantly surprised to hear such a unique sound. They transcend genres, world regions, and times, bringing Spanish-esque guitar riffs and 70’s funk together to create something that makes me long for the hot, rolling haze of summer. I tasted sex and caught the bitter-sweet smell of musk throughout the seductive “Your Love is a Drug”, a throwback to the sounds of Soul.

But there’s a startling emotional honesty about their music, a wisdom far beyond their years that really makes me wonder if this is really their first album. This kind of caliber of music-making is not what you’d expect to find among a group of newcomers. I went in expecting amateurs and instead came out wondering how the hell they were going to top this. Because this? This is quite literally amazing.

Tristan Clopet croons as lead vocalist, possessing a voice that will literally leave you shivering where you stand and wishing that the days of Blues and Soul were still with us. The Juice (comprised of Phil Mullerschoen - drums, Colin Veit - bass, Sean Skelton - that oh, so sexy guitar, and frequenter Rich Chwastiak - percussion) complement Clopet’s vocals beautifully, seamlessly flowing all around him like music ought to. There are far too many vocalists who are at war with their other band members, all vying to be heard; Clopet and Co. are not among them.

Tristan Clopet & The Juice dare to be innovative while paying homage to the giants that have come before them, making for a fantastic debut. I only hope that they’ll make their way up to ....Boston.... sometime in the future. With talent like this, touring can’t be too far away.

I give Duende (EP) 5 out of 5.

Recommended Downloads: “Your Love is a Drug”, “Let It Go”, “Oceans”


"Almost Like Being In Love": There's nothing 'almost' about it!

So, a professor told me (that's right. A PROFESSOR. As in, people in positions of authority read my expletive-laden blog) that I ought to do a post about my favorite book. Because, well, why not?

I tore through my small library, searching for the one book that touched me like no other. I could have chosen the Gaiman-Pratchett corroboration, "Good Omens", but it seemed to obvious. Or I could have picked my childhood love, "A Wind in the Door" by Madeleine L'Engle, but it didn't seem to fit the mindset of this post. But I thought of my Young Adult Literature class from last week where my professor told us about a book that listed the best 500 or so YA novels by category and genre. A fantastic idea, thought I, until my professor finished off with "But there was no LBGT category".

And that? That really steams my clams.

So today's post is going to be dedicated to one of the funniest and heart-warming books I've read in the last ten years. And yes, it's LBGT-themed. Don't like it? Well, Jesus will probably skip over you during the Second Coming for being a small-minded douche.

I'm not entirely sure how I came upon Almost Like Being In Love. I don't remember anyone recommending it to me, or hearing about it on any book lists. Hell, it was probably one of those times when I was browsing the Fiction section in Barnes and Noble and happened upon it by accident. By the novel's non-descript cover, one wouldn't assume too much about it.

By page 2, I was hooked. By page 7, I was laughing out loud. Seriously. Everyone says LOL, but no one actually is LOL'ing. I was. In fact, I was LMAO.

I'm hip.

Almost Like Being In Love is an epistolary novel (told in notes, letters, emails, etc) about a very unlikely pair, Craig the all-star jock and Travis the Broadway-obsessed nerd, who fall in love during high school, spend a summer together in New York City, then part ways when they go to separate colleges. Twenty years later, Travis is a nutjob professor who thinks Tom Sawyer and The Bill of Rights have something in common, and Craig is partner of law firm McKenna & Webb and happily settled down with his boyfriend of 14 years, Clayton. After a slew of disappointments, Travis wakes up and realizes that Craig was THE one and embarks on a cross-country journey to find him and win him back.

Still not convinced? Any book that has such winning lines as "Why didn't somebody tell me she was a gynecologist?! Do you know how it looked?! Nine pregnant women in the waiting room, and I'm up at reception holding my stomach and moaning! "What trimester are you in, sir?" Fuck you, lady!" deserves a closer look!

Steve Kluger's writing, as seen in his other novels ("Changing Pitches", "Last Days of Summer"), is smart, witty and unfailingly charming. His characters are three-dimensional, genuine, and HILARIOUS. I really, really wish I were friends with these people. Especially Gordo -- you guys will LOVE Gordo.

I can't say more without giving the story away, but Almost Like Being In Love is a fantastically funny and sweet story that will make you wonder if there might actually be something to all that "true love" business.

I give Almost Like Being In Love 5 out of 5.


Sex With Strangers: Giving Canada Sex Appeal Since 2006

I’m never entirely sure what my music preferences are, as they change on a nearly-constant basis. However, it takes a lot to really grab my attention beyond a fleeting fancy. That being said, Canadian band Sex With Strangers not only refuses to let my attention go, but they’re holding it for ransom. Since I’m a poor college student, it doesn’t look like I’m going to be free of them for a long time.

Sex With Strangers (myspace.com/sexwithstrangers) is hard to categorize. Are they pop? Are they rock? Are they pop-rock? Are they electronica? New wave? Are they my new favorite word, rocktronica? I, personally, have no idea. They claim to be “robot rock”. If that’s the case, the future’s looking pretty damn spectacular.

Their first full-length album, The Modern Seduction paints a vivid picture of a futuristic dystopia, all sharp angles and sheets of steel, in which the ruling class and the rebels clash. Or at least that’s what I got out of it. The album is fantastic – I couldn’t stop listening to it. I swayed my way through “The Modern Seduction”, I bounced through the endlessly fun “Dance Commander”, and rocked out to the loud and fabulous “Downtown Fever”. The album culminates with “New Persuader”, a tune that sounds like the lovechild of Eurythmics and Duran Duran and will leave you with your toe tapping and your mouth stretched into a huge grin.

For a pop/rock/pop-rock/electronic/new wave/rocktronic band, their lyrics are surprisingly insightful. After the 3rd time I listened to “Dance Commander”, by far their most peppy song on the album, I really started to listen to the words. You can’t go wrong with lyrics like ‘It’s a long way from high fashion / everyone waits while the formers take action / the silence is coming tonight’.

All in all, for a first full-length compilation, it’s phenomenal. My only complaint is that The Modern Seduction is so recent, which means I’m going to have to wait a while for their next one.

I give The Modern Seduction 5 out of 5.


Alternative Ulster: Salem State's Best Kept Secret

It's hard for someone like me to find new music. I hate most of the new music that comes out, and the radio stations I enjoy play only classic rock or oldies. When the Jonas Brothers made the cover of Rolling Stone, I was just about ready to give up altogether.

Fortunately, I took a rather drab class with a rather fantastic individual. Said person happens to DJ a radio show on Tuesdays, from 9-12pm, called "Radio Ulster". Dan Forest helms an amazing little gig, playing everything from my beloved classic rock to indie to folk to punk to hard rock, not to mention whatever his listeners request. Forest's tastes are so eclectic that every listener will walk away satisfied, and possibly a bit spoiled.

I've discovered more songs and bands than I can name within the last few weeks alone. Alternative Ulster has become the staple of my Tuesdays, and the music I glean from the program usually tends to get me through the week.

Forest, himself, is a decent host. His music knowledge is second-to-none, and during his speaking segments he will definitely educate those who need it. I've learned quite a lot about the singers and bands he plays, everything from their roots in the music industry to concert dates to fun little tidbits that somehow bring it all together. My only complaint is that Forest sometimes doesn't seem all that confident in his abilities as a DJ. However, I think he has some great potential to take his little show to new heights, should he choose to up his enthusiasm level. Maybe if he takes a shot of pure espresso before every show...?

Anyway, should you be in need of some good music, both old and new, Alternative Ulster is where you ought to tune in.

Listen to Dan Forest on Alternative Ulster 91.7FM on Tuesdays, 9-12pm.



Twilight: Coldly calculated to pander to *your* shrieking demographic


It was brought to my attention today in Classics II, during a discussion about why Teri Hatcher should be cast as Sin in any adaptation of Paradise Lost, that I should make a blog and rant about the ubiquitous "Twilight" series.

Ten steps ahead of you.

"Twilight" came to my attention in 2006, when the "Harry Potter" series was close to ending and I was looking for something to read that would satisfy my inner twelve-year old. Some friends of mine told me that they were reading this great book series about vampires and I should really check it out. So, forgetting that some of these people thought "X-Men 3" was cinematic gold, I went out and bought the first book. Because I am an idiot.

I got to page 60 before throwing it across the room. And promptly bringing it back to Barnes and Noble. Where the clerk on duty and I subsequently burned it behind the store. True story.

This series proves that publishing houses will do ANYTHING for a dollar, up to and including putting out a series that not only gives teenage girls the impression that guys are really like that, but also takes the English language and SETS IT ON FIRE.

Have all the other writers died? Is that what this is? There's no one left, so we have to publish the drivel that's still lying around?

"Twilight" is about an annoying girl named Bella (of course) and the teenage vampire with whom she falls in love. During the span of four books, we have a virgin vampire (which is an oxymoron, because all vamps are giant sluts) that can walk around IN BROAD DAYLIGHT, crazy vampire enemies, werewolves (because why the hell not?), love triangles, a hellspawn, and a white wedding.

Also during the four books, we have a main character who sets the Women's Movement back about 75 years, a vapid love interest I would stake in a heartbeat, another love interest whose presence I frankly can't understand, a plot so convoluted that I stopped reading and had to put my head between my knees and wait for the braincells to regenerate, and an author in need of an afternoon of electroshock.

For those of you playing the home game, Twilight is brought to you by Stephanie Meyer, crazy Mormon extraordinaire. Hell, that she's a Mormon is purely incidental in this case! But the fact that she's crazy remains a FACT. She's 27, still lives with her parents, and is the biggest child I've ever seen. Everything she says and does makes me seriously wonder if she's ever left the comfort of her mall-goth bedroom and gone outside.

** On one memorable occasion, a fan asked Ms. Meyer if Edward (the vapid virgin vamp) goes a bit stir-crazy whenever Bella gets her period. Because blood is the ONLY source of sustenance for a vampire, and Bella is his twu wuv. I, personally, think it's a very valid question. And Ms. Meyer's response?

"Eww! That is so gross! I can't believe you'd ask me that! You should probably leave."

What kind of CHILD shuts down a fan like that?**

And the fans of these books are INSANE. It pains me to admit that my sister is one of them, proving that I have not only failed in my duties as an older sister, but also as a future English teacher. Has anyone ever tried talking to a "Twilight" fan? My best friend's sister is a HUGE fan and every time she talks to me about Edward Cullen, all I can think is, "Fuck. I don't have enough breadcrumbs to get home."

And desecrating the written word wasn't enough, but they had to go and make a movie adaptation. My best friend saw it and said that if they'd muted the whole thing, it would've been good. And they got the most unpleasant, blank-eyed potheads to play the leading roles. Way to go, Goldcrest Pictures.

Unfortunately, as it has been made clear to me, I am in the minority when it comes to hating these books. Maybe 1 out of 10 people are rational individuals who understand where I'm coming from. The other 9 watch "Lord of the Rings" as if it were a documentary.

I'm not entirely sure how to end this rant, because trying to wrap my mind around the success of this series normally causes blood to shoot out my nose. But understand that I've been writing all of my life. I was a creative writing major for two years, studying under some of the best writing professors the country has to offer. I'm a semester away from doing my student-teaching in England, and I have a 3.8 GPA. I'd like to think I know what bad literature looks like.

And from here? It looks like "Twilight".



The "Revolutionary Road" review (or the one in which R.C. wants to KILL herself)

Every once in a while, two amazing actors will come together for what is purported to be the film of the year. So, naturally I nipped over to the theater, desperate to taste the fruition of 11 years. Kate Winslet and Leonardo DiCaprio, together again. There's no way you'd walk out disappointed. Or suicidal.

My ticket to Revolutionary Road should have come with a revolver.

I don't remember the last time I ever walked out of a movie so incredibly depressed. The audience filed out of the theater in complete silence to the soundtrack of the soft piano that played alongside the rolling credits. They called it Revolutionary Road. I called it A Nightmare on Elm Street, because I wanted to KILL MYSELF after watching it.

The film was based on Richard Yates's novel of the same title, and as far as I can tell stayed true to the source. According to those who have read it, the book was just as bleak as the movie. Even Yates agrees. In the October 1999 issue of the Boston Review, Yates was quoted on his central theme: "If my work has a theme, I suspect it is a simple one: that most human beings are inescapably alone, and therein lies their tragedy."

Um, wow. Excuse me while I go HANG MYSELF from the light fixture.

Now, don't get me wrong. I am all for sad. Sad is great! Hell, I use it more than I ought to in my writing. But this? This was bleak. This was worse than bleak: this was hopelessly empty. THEY EVEN SAID IT IN THE MOVIE!! While I can appreciate a dressing down of the fluffy portrait that the 50's painted, I can't deal with films that claim to have a purpose. This film had no such thing. It was just one incredibly long piece of total and complete OSCARBATION. (Although I'm feeling a bit vindicated, as it was not nominated for an Academy Award for Best Film.)

However, Leo and Kate do not disappoint as Frank and April Wheeler, a pencil-pusher and a failed actress. Both are at the top of their game, and their relationship will put you through the wringer. The ending scenes will literally leave you broken, as shattered as one of Kate's shiny ceramic dishes. And you will never look at rubber tubing the same way again. There is a sense of extreme awkwardness that permeates their relationship, despite their best efforts.

The one character I really enjoyed was Michael Shannon's John Givings, a once-brilliant mathematician who is in and out of a mental institution. Having endured 37 electroshock treatments he's forgotten all his math. However, he is blunt and does not abide by the unspoken conduct rule of that time, asking explicit questions and revealing the ugly truths about marriage, and the Wheelers, themselves. His performance was amazing and he totally deserves his Oscar nom.

But the successes of the film do not outweigh the failures. It was long, it was draggy, it served no purpose, and its conclusion felt far too forced and abrupt. I realize that it was working off of the novel, so perhaps my issues lie with Yates.

Either way, I would suggest popping a couple of Zoloft before seeing this film. You'll need it.

I give Revolutionary Road 2.5 out of 5.

"Wow. I'm seeing my wrists in a whole new light."


It's happening. Oh, it's HAPPENING! Zack is coming!!!

::convulses with joy::


Marc Forster, I don't care if you're a crazy action!movie director who butchered the Bond franchise with Quantum of Solace. I'm willing to overlook that. But if you fuck up this movie, so help me... I'll be on you faster than a mob of zombies after a school bus full of trapped kids.


Tempest Ardor (The review of SSC's performance of William Shakespeare's "The Tempest")

As soon as I turned the key in the ignition, I let my car run for a while in the Peabody Hall parking lot at Salem State and attempted to create some sort of order to the chaos that had taken residence in my head. I sat in silence, trying to compose the opening of this review so that I might start it upon getting home, but every time I would grasp on a coherent thought it would slip away. My car ran for a while, needless to say.

I loved the theater department's adaptation of it. I did. I thought it was absolutely brilliant. The acting was incredible, the sound effects were appropriate and resonated in the small spiritual part of me, and the set blew me away. However, I couldn't help but have trouble reconciling it with the play I'd read and picked apart in class and on my own. It was almost as if there were two plays, one by Shakespeare and one by the SSC drama department, both carrying the same characters, plot, and message. As if it was incidental that they both should be called The Tempest.

The differences between the two came down to tone and mood. When I first read The Tempest, I never found much light-heartedness to it. It was a solemn read about forgiveness and retribution, not to mention colonization, but the tone always seemed so somber to me. However, actually seeing it performed with such enthusiasm and humor made it seem like a totally different play. Even something simple as tone made all the difference. I enjoyed both versions, the solemn prose of it on paper and the sweet airiness on stage.

But enough about that. Onto the actual review.

The very first thing that struck me (other than how uncomfortable the seats were) was the set. Whoever was in charge of set direction deserves a fruit basket the size of the sandy cliff they created. It looked as if a small portion of the base of the cliffs of Dover had been broken off and transported to Main Stage, where flawlessly-created rocks and real sand were scattered around it. Not once did I think to myself, "Wow. That's shoddy." I've seen shoddy sets. This, however... It was strong, sturdy and frighteningly beautiful for a college production.

And while the music and lighting were on-cue and added to the show, it was (of course) the acting that really made my breath catch.

First and foremost, there was Jaime Slatt as the spirit Ariel. I had seen Slatt in one play previous to this and while her performance was decent, it wasn't memorable for me. However, her performance this time around will stick with me every time I see her in other roles and every time I read The Tempest. She was absolutely out of this world. Every movement, every inflection in her words, every smile, every conniving wink was executed with grace and professionalism and joy. Slatt sloughed off her own skin and stepped into that of a faerie, flouncing and practically soaring across the stage, laughing and grinning all the while. There wasn't a single moment that I wasn't completely on board with her role. She stole the show.

I hadn't heard of Brian Sergant until I saw the playbill and made a moue of interest at the fact that Mr. Sergant is from New Zealand. I mentioned in a review of some movie or TV show that all of the best actors come from overseas. This is no exception. The first thing that I noticed about Sergant was his presence onstage. He had complete command over himself, the other actors, and the audience. I fell under his thrall right from the get-go and hung on every word that dripped from his lips like a fine wine, delivered like a true monarch, all tumbling trills and fluid form. He sounded and acted as an exiled ruler might, indignant yet retaining the utmost regality. It was a beautiful thing to behold and I can only hope that New Zealand will send over 200 more just like him so that we might break the mediocrity we've come to rely on when it comes to entertainment in America.

Mike Zuccolo is, apparently, a newcomer to the Salem State stage and what a debut he made! I had a small talk with Patricia Buchanan about his portrayal of Caliban and we both agreed that it was nothing short of phenomenal. He was crude, "uncivilized", and so earnest in his endeavors to be free of Prospero's hold that you couldn't help but pity him. When I read The Tempest, I held nothing but disinterest in his excuses and devilish actions, but Zuccolo actually made me sympathize with him. I walked away from his performance with a grin and a modicum of sadness in my heart.

Oh, Joe Coppellotti and Andrew Mattox II. My dynamic duo. While I've never seen Coppellotti perform previous to this, I did have the good fortune to see Mattox II in Twelve Angry Jurors last year and it was his performance that stuck with me -- I can still see him in my mind as Juror #10, trembling with the force of his rage and so steadfast in his rather violent convictions, body cooking in the sweltering heat (both figurative and literal), until he ended the show as a broken man. He was just as fantastic then as he is as Antonio. However, his performance relied on that of Coppellotti's, both taking part in an odd symbiosis that would have broken down had one of them faltered; one could not have worked without the other. These two fine actors brought a bit of something new to the play, at least for me: sarcasm. Every time they spoke, even while plotting the deaths of the members of their party, their words were caked in it. It was a genuine touch that also made me sympathize with them. I'd read both Antonio and Sebastian to be cunning and dark would-be assassins, but their portrayal made me see them as men, desperate for power. And the expression of abject horror on Antonio's face upon seeing Prospero alive? Priceless.

The other winning couple, Robert Savage and Tony Rossi, were HILARIOUS. I've never enjoyed watching two drunk people so much in my life. Their raucous humor and crazy antics brought the show to dazzling heights, proving once again that Shakespeare's words can hold meaning for everyone of all generations so long as the right people are delivering the lines.

Hannah Cranton in her final performance at SSC was beautiful. She was beautiful as Miranda, the ingénue of the island, who falls in love with the rather dashing Ferdinand (Ricardo Martins). While Cranton played up her character's wholesomeness and naiveté, Martins played Ferdinand as the hopeful suitor, undergoing Prospero's tests without so much as a peep. That wishful demeanor showed in Martins's face (I was close enough to see) and how desperate he was to be able to hold Miranda's hand without fear of censure. It was sweet without being saccharine and undeniably romantic.

All of the minor characters were great (the three goddesses were amazing), but out of all of them Nicole Leostakos's Gonzalo was superb. I was rather impressed with the way she carried herself like a portly man, the way her voice never cracked on her baritone, and the blinding passion that infused her every word. Her Gonzalo reminded me of an uncle that you never get to see often but never leave his side when he does finally come to visit. I'm sad to see her leaving SSC, because that means I won't get to see her in anything else.

All of this and more came together in a gelignite-covered play that left the audience either in stitches or totally enraptured. There is something magical about seeing a play this well put together on opening night and I am overwhelmingly positive that the feeling will resound from now until the end of its run in December.

Thank you to the cast and crew of The Tempest for such a memorable night. And I apologize for coughing so much -- I'm getting over a cold.

Salem State College's production of The Tempest is running until December 7th. Tickets are $15 for the general public, $10 for a student ID or for seniors, and FREE for SSC students (with ID). No one has an excuse to miss this.

I give SSC's The Tempest 5 out of 5.


Celebrity, and why that word is stupid

Once upon a time, yours truly went to NYC to see Suddenly Last Summer, starring Blythe Danner, Gale Harold, and Carla Gugino. The play wasn't good, but my friends and I waited at the stage door nonetheless to catch a glimpse of the actors.

It was cold, rainy, and I could feel it rattling in my lungs, but no one else seemed to pay heed to the weather conditions. They clamored to get as close to the barrier rope as possible, all of them praying for the chance to see Gale Harold, who eventually emerged in an unfashionable ensemble that I mentally picked apart, just as I would anyone else.

I, too, went up, mostly because he and I had the same hat. And while the other girls cooed and tittered over him, we struck up a short, normal conversation full of sarcasm but graciousness. I was pleasant, so was he, and that was that.

My friends forbade me to ever talk to another celebrity again because I "did it wrong".

I've thought long and hard about this. My feelings haven't changed. Sure, I have my celebrity crushes (Nathan, Sean, Cate, and David Tennant), but I recognize these people as simply that: people.

Acting isn't what it used to be. Back when Hollywood was emerging, acting was about the art. It was about emotion, passion, pushing your body to its absolute limit so it might show up on the brand new Technicolor film. It was Marlon Brando, screaming in the streets. It was Anne Bancroft, a goddess seducing a teenager. It was Fred and Ginger, dancing on pockets of romance and night. These actors and actresses were humble, genuine, and unafraid to take risks.

Now, it's a status symbol. One celebrity can shut down an entire terminal of an airport upon arrival. Malls close for them. Normal, everyday people trip over themselves just to see them, will spend absorbent amounts of money to meet them.

Doesn't anyone realize that acting is simply a job for these celebrities? That's what it all comes down to, at least for me. This is their job, their occupation. Their job is to entertain, just as it's your co-worker's job to make sure there are cover sheets on your TPS reports, just as it's your boss's job to keep you in line and make sure you're not wanking to internet porn during company hours. But you don't see paparazzi lining the elevator when your superior comes into work in the morning, nor do you see restaurants and department stores giving things away for free just because your neighbor, the accountant; the teacher; the cashier walked through the door. Acting is their job -- granted, it's one of the coolest jobs to have, but it's still a job.

I don't go crazy over celebrities because they're regular people. So the next time you see Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie walking down the street together, leave them alone. You don't harass other complete strangers for living their lives. Extend celebrities the same courtesy.

It's just a job, people. Just a job.


I'm a little late on this, I know, so shut up (A review on the fictional novel, "World War Z")

It's about time I started reviewing books. Ever since I started this blog (and I use the term lightly), I really haven't had the time to sit down and read a good book. Then after an influx of recommendations and threats that I was committing crimes against humanity by not reading it (because apparently I was the only one left on the planet who hadn't read it), I decided to pick up Max Brooks's World War Z: An Oral History of the Zombie War.

I know what you're thinking: "A zombie novel? Seriously?"


At first I was like, "I hope I didn't just shell out $15 bucks for a dud." And then I read the first page. I looked up and it was suddenly, like, three hours later and I was half-way done with the book. I couldn't put it down after that. Everywhere I went, it came with me. If I went to school, so did it. If I had two minutes before class started, out it came. If I brought it out to read in the cafeteria between classes, people I'd never seen before would come up to me and tell me what a fantastic book it was. To which I would say, "Um, fucking duh, I haven't lost interest."

Max Brooks is the brains behind the hilarious Zombie Survival Guide, a comprehensive collection of survival strategies and how-to-use-such-and-such-weapon should you find yourself in the middle of a zombie apocalypse. However, WWZ is much darker and serious in nature.

The story is told as the name says: an oral history. It's broken into three sections: the outbreak, who's to blame, and the aftermath; almost like an epistolary novel, it's told through first-accounts by the survivors, including military personnel, civilians, doctors, and a whole mess of others.

And let me tell you, no zombie movie that's ever been released has encompassed this much thought and detail, not to mention the bone-chilling reality that no country, government, or single individual is prepared for the horror of something of this magnitude. Which is essentially what the novel's underlying message is: we aren't prepared. If anything like this happened, all pretenses would be dropped and we would see exactly what humanity is: a cowardly and pissy child that refuses to take responsibility for its actions.

The characters that Brooks has created are fantastic, mostly because they're real. They're flawed, they're uncertain, and they're undeniably human. Some of the stories that these people tell will sit with you for days.

But even as the novel demonstrates how humanity really is the lowest race on the planet, it also shows how amazing we can be once we pull our heads out of our asses.

World War Z has fast become one of my favorite books of all time. If the Massachusetts Education Frameworks would allow it, I'd totally teach this book. There's a lot to be learned from it.

Either way, I give World War Z: An Oral History of the Zombie War 5 out of 5.

Oh, and a movie adaptation is coming out in 2010!


7 Balls to Rule Them All...

I'll admit it: I was one of those geeky 12-year olds that watched Dragon Ball Z on Toonami every day after school. I mean, come on, who didn't want to shoot light from their hands at that age?

Well, long after the DBZ craze, some idiot decided to make a movie. You know, now that no one gives a shit.

I just watched the teaser trailer. As Perez Hilton would say: SHITEOUS!!



The Presidential Debate in a breadbox

I can sum it up in a few words:


Holy Update, Batman! (And speaking of... Here's the "The Dark Knight" review)

It's been a small eternity since I reviewed a movie, or, uh, said anything, but the new semester has begun and I'm already at my wits end! So, why not write a review while my emotional state is a volatile one?

I saw The Dark Knight opening day at the IMAX in Reading. I walked out in complete silence. I saw it twice more, still leaving in total silence, unable to formulate a word or opinion of any kind.

My thoughts have finally come together enough for me to write this review.

The Dark Knight is a comic book adaptation, as well as the sequel to the critically-acclaimed Batman Begins, which re-launched the series and pushed Batman once again into the spotlight. However, as much as it is a comic book movie, it works just as well as a crime drama, one of the best I've seen in years.

There are several storylines that play out in this film, all of them intertwined and important, and the way they unfold is nearly perfect. Brothers Christopher Nolan (director, writer, screenplay) and Jonathan Nolan (screenplay) knew exactly what they were doing when writing the screenplay for this movie. There is not one plot hole to be found -- everything is tied up by the end of the movie. But they manage to make it exciting and a complete thrill; the 152-minute you take is never a boring one. Tedious, maybe, but never boring.

I'll start off with the talk of the town: The Joker.

Heath Ledger, who will win a posthumous Oscar if the Academy doesn't want angry fans burning Hollywood to the ground, portrays this iconic villain as a man without morals or even a plan, just someone "who wants to watch the world burn". From the minute you see him standing on a street corner, back to the audience, you know something is not quite right -- just his stance alone conveys the important and messy role he plays.

Now, I'm a huge Batman fan. HUGE. I grew up watching the animated series, which prompted my older brother to introduce me to the comics. Even before Batman Begins brought life back to the franchise, I knew something was terribly wrong with all of the Batman films that had come before, one problem being Jack Nicholson's Joker.

I have nothing against Nicholson. He's an amazing actor. But in the 1989 Batman movie, he wasn't the Joker. He was Jack Nicholson with make-up on, dancing around and camping it up. His was not the mind of a psychotic killer.

Ledger's performance is up there with Kevin Spacey's in Se7en, or Sir Anthony Hopkins's Hannibal Lector. Ledger's Joker is twisted, insane (the "we the jury find the defendant" kind of insane), but more than that, he makes you believe that he is, in fact, an agent of chaos. Every wrong turn, every point of confusion, every horrifying bump in the dark on screen is caused by the very reminder that all clowns laugh, but some for all the wrong reasons.

He sold me on his Joker, with every snicker, every nervous tic, every hilarious one-liner -- he re-made this villain. WHY'D HE HAVE TO GO AND O.D.?!

Well, he'd better get that Oscar, or there really will be chaos.

Aaron Eckhart's D.A. Harvey Dent was perfect. Perfect. I love Aaron Eckhart, I really do, and he didn't disappoint. I was a bit nervous, as this was the first time that Harvey Dent and Two-Face were to be in the same movie, but Eckhart carried his character with much aplomb and really convinced me that the Joker was bringing him down a spiraling path. And then, of course, the big reveal.

Christian Bale, I love him. But would somebody give him a fucking lozenge?

And then, of course, there were Michael Caine and Morgan Freeman. Snappy, sarcastic, smart, and all those other good S words. While they were minor characters, you never forgot their presence, even when they weren't on-screen.

The soundtrack was amazing (Hans Zimmer and James Newton Howard = WIN), and I want to have sex with Wally Pfister, the cinematographer. The editing was flawless and make-up? Um, yes please.

All in all, Mr. Nolan, I think you have a perfect movie on your hands, or as close as you can get to one. Congratulations. Let's hope you don't puss out when it comes to the third and final installment of the series.

And Sid Ganis? All eyes are on you, buddy. ::glare::

I give The Dark Knight a 5 out of 5.


Why Joss is Boss.

I'm convinced that if Joss Whedon struck out to rule the world, all of our leaders would let him.

His newest creation, Dr. Horrible's Sing-a-long Blog, penned and made during the writer's strike, shows just how flexible and GENIUS Whedon can be.

Also, Neil Patrick Harris is hilarious and amazing. But we knew that. He stars as the eponymous character, a scientist who longs to rule the world (because it's a mess). Only thing is, he's not that good at being evil. And he's in love with a girl (Felicia Day) that goes to the same laundromat as he.

Nathan Fillion (!!) stars as his buffoon-ish nemesis, Captain Hammer, who manages to get the girl and still foil all Horrible's plans. And, you know, it's Nathan Fillion. Singing. And smiling. And breathing.

The lyrics are fantastic ("Any dolt with half a brain / Can see that humankind has gone insane / To the point where I don't know if I'll upset the status quo / if I throw poison into the water main." -- Act II), fun, and will make you smile continually throughout.

Act I and II are already up, and act III will be up on Saturday on http://drhorrible.com/, and best yet they're free! Until Sunday, at which point they'll be taken down. But you can purchase all 3 acts on iTunes. I have.

I give Dr. Horrible 5 out of 5!


Still Not Dead...

I keep forgetting that I have this stupid thing.



I'm convinced that Pixar sold its collective soul to the Devil in exchange for brilliant movies that will make millions at the Box Office. There's no other explanation.

In Pixar's seventh consecutive bit of GENIUS, WALL-E (the little robot that could, can, and will) manages to subtly tell us that we're fucking up our planet (take some notes, Shamalan) while reminding us that love isn't born from big gestures, but rather something as simple as holding hands. And the robots are SO. CUTE.

It's a movie with heart, amazing visuals, humor, and a message for all of us to ponder, regardless of age.

I saw it four times. I'm not kidding.

2. Wanted

Did Die Hard 4: Live Free or Die Hard not satisfy your taste for ridiculous and impossible action and humorous quips? Then this is the movie for you, my friend!

A rags-to-riches (or peon-to-assassin) story in which a young man disinterested in his sorry excuse for a life is recruited by a fraternity of assassins (aptly named "The Fraternity") to train and kill the rogue assassin that killed his father.

Crazy violence, crazy amounts of F-Bombs, and there's a Russian guy that hooks rats up to explosives. Which really made me kind of upset. There's no story (I mean, these people take contracts from a "Loom of Fate", and by "loom" they mean "linen-maker"), but as far as action movies go I've definitely seen worse.

It's bullshit, but fun bullshit.

And James McAvoy is in it, so yay! Oh, and that Angelina chick's in it, too.

3. The Happening

I'm laughing too hard to even write a scathing review. Just don't bother.

4. The Incredible Hulk

gratuitous edward norton shot

Obviously a vast improvement on Ang Lee's thinker, this movie is what it's supposed to be: a comic book adaptation. Edward Norton was fantastic as Bruce Banner, and Tim Roth was fucking frightening as Emil Blonksy (aka: the bad guy). Liv Tyler was so breathy throughout the movie that I was so sure she was having an asthma attack, and William Hurt is getting old. But there were cameos by Lou Ferrigno and Bill Bixby!

But the dialog was great, the CGI didn't take away from the action, although the Hulk looked like a baby-faced monster that I wanted to put in my pocket.


This is about all I can write for now -- I hurt. Last night, we filmed a huge chunk of the student movie I'm starring in. I'm sunburned, I have a sprained wrist, bruises from where I was choked with a piano wire, whiplash, and water lodged way up into my ear canal.

Go me.

More to come soon. aka: THE DARK KNIGHT