Some of the best stand-up comics alive tell the filthiest joke ever in thi-
It’s actually a strange, fear-filled Disney animated adventure that reinforces the viewpoint that the wealthy should definitely fear the help.
Sacha Baron Cohen returns with another vile, culture-destroyer character. The film’s ad campaign presented a film that seemed very broad, but Cohen’s stuff often feels that way – especially when he eschews the faux documentary format and tries for narrative. That’s the case with The Dictator, a film that seeks to redeem a grotesque, vaguely foreign despot through the transformative power of the love of Anna Faris. It would probably work on me…
HALLOWEEN 4: THE RETURN OF MICHAEL MYERS
Ohh, that Moustapha Akkad. After Clan Carpenter delivered a creepish, interesting, and far-from formulaic installment in a series Carpenter had hoped would become a holiday perennial, Akkad panicked and bought a Shatner mask. Halloween 4 and 5 are pretty rote – but they’re not without their charms. Danielle Harris is alternately endearing and intense as an even more vulnerable variation on Jamie Lee Curtis’ everywoman innocent. She too is inexplicably fixated on by The Shape, and these films begin to concoct a mind-bogglingly shitty (and kinda’ hilarious) mythology filled with child abuse and Druids. Dwight Little honed skills on H4 that would help him when he directed Marked for Death – namely how to present another murderous, lumbering monster.
Anchor Bay is already being dumped on for leaving some of the previous special features off of these discs – which is one of those things a company does to force hardcore collectors to retain every version of a single film, keeping old discs out of the swelling (and increasingly cheap) secondary market. It’s a smart move…if you spell “smart” D-I-C-K.
THE RESCUERS AND THE RESCUERS DOWN UNDER
Charming and warmly animated, Both Rescuers films are among the best of Disney’s adventure tales – and now you can buy them both crudely shunted onto on Blu Ray.
50 Greatest Finishing Moves in WWE History
Black Magic Rites
Black Metal Veins
Captain Carey, U.S.A.
Freelancers – Hollywood legends collide when Robert DeNiro teams…with…the director…of Soul Plane. The only way this could be more ruinous is if he was co-starring with 50 Cent. Oh. Hi, Fiddy…
Good Will Hunting – based on Disney’s recent handling of catalog titles, this “15th Anniversary” edition will be bare bones and look like shit. Hooray.
Halloween 4: The Return Of Michael Myers
Halloween 5: The Revenge Of Michael Myers
Home Run Showdown
Lady and the Tramp II
My Son John
No. 6 Complete Collection
One in the Chamber – Cuba Gooding Jr. does more DTV duty, and a well-reviewed Dolph Lundgren comes along for the ride.
Pocahontas and Pocahontas II: Journey to a New World
Private Hell 36
The Rescuers and The Rescuers: Down Under
Santa Fe Trail
Shakugan No Shana: Season One
Staind: Live at the Mohegan Sun – this band still exists? Crazy.
Stephen King’s Thinner – if only it was Stephen King’s Better.
The Tigger Movie
ARIEL PINK’S HAUNTED GRAFFITI – MATURE THEMES
Ariel Rosenberg follows up Before Today with more weirdbeard pop; imagine an existentially-confused Robyn Hitchcock by way of Beck’s musical polymathism, and you’ll be in the ballpark. As for “Mature” themes? Well… “Kinski assassins /Double agents in Athens / Polymanogamasturbators ahoy / Like young Sigmund Freud.” Well, who hasn’t pondered such things in an idle moment (not to mention the “blowjobs of death”)? We just don’t share them over an insistent faux-80’s backbeat. Whether you’re jonesing for warped deconstruction of The Byrds (“Only In My Dreams”), the Sisters of Mercy (“Early Birds of Babylon”), or the Donnie and Joe Emerson soul obscurity “Baby”, Mature Themes may be all over the musical map, but it never gets boring… well, almost never: “Schnitzel Boogie” wears out its welcome pretty quickly, but indulgence (over and otherwise) is part of the band’s charm.
YEASAYER – FRAGRANT WORLD
Not being a member of the Yeasayer Fan Club, I managed to miss the Internet scavenger hunt allowing fans to undearth videos from each of the album’s songs. Maybe not a bad thing, though, as Fragrant World actually hangs together pretty well as a complete album (though now that I’ve seen a few of the videos, from director Yoshi Sodeoka, I’ll admit they’re pretty interesting). Lead single “Henrietta” (inspired by the fascinating true life of Henrietta Lacks, whose “immortal” cancerous cells were used by medical researchers for generations after her death), is lushly funky, with the off-kilter swagger of an updated Happy Mondays: “Oh Henrietta / We can live on forever.” The album opener, “Fingers Never Bleed,” is typical of the band’s thickly-layered approach, with squealing faux-soul over a succession of treated choruses and dense gobs of synth (speaking of which, the synth harpsichord part on “Devil and the Deed” practically begs to be used on a cover of the theme to The Prisoner). Chris Keating’s vocals also get plenty of processing: they evoke digital death on “Glass of the Microscope,” dub doom on “Demon Road.” The demons of ordinary human mortality seem to be on the minds of Keating and company these days: “Never count on longevity,” Keating cautions at one point, and “Damaged Goods” goes Yeatsian on the topic: “How quickly the bloom on the rose does leave.” But, then, great pop often dances in the face of doom.
RY COODER – ELECTION SPECIAL
Blues, folk, country, and rock and roll have often been pretty useful on the general subjects of race and class, but political specificity has a tendency to the awkward in such populist forms. In the past, Ry Cooder’s managed to craft excellent albums on the first two subjects, including 2005’s Chavez Ravine, and last year’s Pull Up Some Dust and Sit Down. But, alas, this year’s Election Special is the sort of on-the-nose finger-pointing that is both thematically obvious, and (for Cooder) disappointingly short on musical ambition. “Mutt Romney Blues” pretty much sums things up: instead of taking the opportunity to confront the issue-driven schism dividing the country this year, Cooder gives us a Jay Leno joke set to a conventional blues shuffle that Cooder can knock off in his sleep; given Cooder’s demonstrated breadth of knowledge of musical forms (from Africa to Cuba to Hollywood and back again), it comes off (as does much of the album) as a dumbing-down, as though he were trying to bring enlightenment to some Deliverance-level rednecks. “They’re gonna re-segregate the White House!” he warns us, as though anyone in the country (world?) wasn’t already aware of the racial implications of the upcoming election. The biggest problem, though, is that Cooder seems to feel that it’s more “honest” to present the music in terms as stark and unimaginative as the politics: he knows better; he’s done better.
OTHER NOTABLE 8/21 RELEASES:
For most of this week, Amazon’s #1 overall selling preorder CD was the reissue of a quarter-century old album by four cartoon characters. Make of that what you will.
Bloc Party – Four
Michael Burks – Show of Strength
The Darkness – Hot Cakes
Dead Can Dance- Anastasis
Dispatch – Circles Around The Sun
JJ Doom – Key to the Kuffs
Bill Fay – Life Is People
Heavy – Glorious Dead
Jimmy Herring, Subject To Change Without Notice
DJ Khaled – Kiss the Ring
The Kinks – At the BBC
Kiss – Destroyer Resurrected
Los Lobos – Kiko and the Lavender Moon: 20th Anniversary Edition / Kiko Live
Lynyrd Skynyrd – Last of a Dyin’ Breed
Taj Mahal – Hidden Treasures of Taj Mahal 1969-1973
Owl City – The Midsummer Station
Kelly Joe Phelps – Brother Sinner & The Whale
Trey Songz – Chapter V
TRANSFORMERS: FALL OF CYBERTRON (PS3, 360, PC)
High Moon Studios did what many thought was impossible and gave us a pretty decent Transformers game a few years back. War for Cybertron was a fun third person shooter with a few unique mechanics that wore out their welcome well before the end of the too lengthy campaign. There was a lot wrong with it. It got a bit of a pass due to Nerd Law, but as someone who doesn’t give a shit about Transformers…I can’t say I was craving more. But Activision…
So here we are, three years later – and another Transformers game. And it looks like another Transformers game. I’m all for badass robots shooting things – so yay, I guess. Cool shit is cool. But really – is anyone who isn’t a giant Transformers nerd actually excited for this game?
There are tones of Transformers nerds, and the entire purpose of Transformers has always been to sell shit to eighties kids, so I’m sure Fall of Cybertron will sell a metric shit load of copies.
COUNTER STRIKE: GLOBAL OFFENSIVE (PC, 360, PS3)
I tried to play Counter Strike once. I couldn’t stay alive for more than forty seconds, and people kept screaming at me and calling me worthless. Counter Strike is scary. Now it’s on consoles – so you can be screamed at by kids half your age over Live. The last thing I’d want to do is play what is undoubtedly the most competitive shooter out there with an eleven-year-old kid. Seriously. Those kids are mean.
That sounds pretty Globally Offensive. Ah well – ’til next we meet…