Illness and academia kept me from taking last week’s column live in a timely fashion, but we’ll get things back under control here shortly.
DREDD 3D tanked. I have mixed feelings about this. Part of me thinks that, if you care about exciting, energetic moviemaking, you really should take a look at this film. And you’ve really gotta’ see it in 3D – it features some the most inventive and bold use of the tech I’ve ever seen. One sequence in particular was so completely audacious that I felt like all of the kids who saw the Gap-ad tech in The Matrix must have felt – but for me, Dredd was far more visually transcendent than the Wachowski endeavor. Pete Travis marries Gaspar Noe-inspired imagery to a conventional action narrative, and makes the whole thing play like poetry.
The other part of me thinks, “I get to own this on Blu 3D sooner now. AWESOME.”
SHOUT! Factory’s new horror imprint, SCREAM! Factory (artfully simplistic genius, that) has only just begun, and they’re already just killing it. Reader TonyVortex reminded me that I should probably mention that the company dropped Halloweens II and III (with slick cover art by the excellent Nathan Thomas Milliner – and if you friend them on Facebook, they’ll give you a heads-up on their future releases.
They’ve since announced Renny Harlin’s awesome PRISON – in which character acting GIANT Lane Smith plays an asshole warden with a sinister secret involving a wronged inmate who’s ghost haunts a crumbling prison being overhauled by a group of inmates (led by by Viggo Mortensen) who then have to contend with spectral evil – and The Video Dead, which…had some pretty great VHS cover art.
Meanwhile, the nightmare is now fully upon us. So many things to buy now. Let’s open ‘er up:
MARVEL’S THE AVENGERS
Low key, low-rent indie drama from “mumblecore” progenitor Joss Whedon sees a group of dysfunctional white people come together to complain about their problems.
All the Bonds. One big box. They’re not going to do this again until the next movie comes out – so you gotta’ get on this now.
DAMSELS IN DISTRESS
The new film from my beloved from the mind of Whit Stillman. Not even Greta Gerwig can chase me away from this.
The very last time Ivan Reitman made it work, this gentle film has always filled me with joy…and the comedown is brutal.
EATING RAOUL (CRITERION)
Paul (Death Race 2000) Bartel does it again with what amounts to a swinging Sweeney Todd in which he and Mary Woronov stumble onto a unique way to finance that small business they’ve always wanted.
THE GAME (CRITERION)
It’s about time, huh?
LONE WOLF AND CUB COLLECTION
They squished ’em all onto two discs, as I understand it – but this legendary tale of a ronged ronin and his child on a date with violent destiny exists in high definition now.
American Horror Story: The Complete First Season – this show sounds a lot like people throwing bunch of weirdo shit at the wall to see what sticks.
The American President
Au Pair Girls
Batman: The Dark Knight Returns, Part 1
Bond 50: Celebrating Five Decades of Bond
Damsels in Distress
Eating Raoul (Criterion)
Fallen Angels & Happy Together
Freddie Mercury: Great Pretender
G.I. Joe Renegades: Season 1
The Game (Criterion)
Gary Moore: Blues for Jimi Live in London
Gerhard Richter Painting
Godzilla Vs. Biollante
Jock the Hero Dog
Key & Peele: Season 1
Klown – I’ve heard good things about this sinister black comedy. We’ll have to find out together.
Lone Wolf & Cub Collection
Portlandia: Season 2
Recoil: Strange Hour in Budapest
Resident Evil: Damnation
Strippers vs. Werewolves
The Tall Man
MUMFORD & SONS – BABEL
It’s not hard to imagine the microcosm of Marcus Mumford’s breakup with Laura Marling by comparing their musical styles: Marling’s cool restraint and precise intelligence would certainly make for a resounding clash with Mumford’s vigorous, sweaty passion and muddily heartfelt lyrics: “There’ll be no value in the strength of walls that I have grown / They’ll be no comfort in the shade of the shadows thrown.” Biblical without belief, lost in a pain that he can’t resist savoring over and over, Mumford drives his band to their familiar fury, and producer Markus Dravs ensures that this is as vivid a musical recording as you’ll hear this year.
GREEN DAY – UNO!
Personally, I was fine with the iHeartradio meltdown: it suggested, if only for a moment, that Armstrong had decided that the smoothly corporate rock that his band has been reduced to, in order to keep from sliding into irrelevance, had become just too much to take; and that he harbored the same loathing for iHeartradio’s greedhead sponsors, Clear Channel, that all right-thinking folks share. Mind you, that doesn’t change the smoothly corporate irrelevance of this latest Green Day outing, and doesn’t exactly bode well for the two impending followups. Wonder what the Foxboro Hot Tubs are doing these days?
DEADMAU5 – ALBUM TITLE GOES HERE
I dunno… I’ve always thought one of the advantages of the endless droning streams of music that DJ’s like Deadmau5 produce was not having to listen to fatheaded vocals from guys like Gerard Way (a fine comic book writer, by the way); then again, Way isn’t the only thing that makes “Professional Griefers” (the advance single from this album) unlistenable: it’s stentorian beat is warmed-over Human League, its lyric a “bite-the-hand-that-feeds-you” of the rave scene. Elsewhere, Zimmerman’s affected offhandedness continues to skirt a sugary cutesiness, and the album’s most inspired musical moment comes from copping a lick from Francois Truffaut by way of Stephen Spielberg. Ruling the dance floor is all well and good, but there are more impressive sonic monarchs to bow down to these days.
OTHER NOTABLE 9.28 RELEASES:
Richie Sambora – Aftermath of the Lowdown
As I Lay Dying – Awakened
Joe Bonamassa – Beacon Theatre: Live From New York
Gary Moore – Blues for Jimi: Live in London
Steve Harris – British Lion
Dokken – Broken Bones
Lupe Fiasco – Food & Liquor II: The Great American Rap
Waylon Jennings – Goin Down Rockin: The Last Recordings
Euge Groove – House of Groove
Merl Saunders and Jerry Garcia – Keystone Companions: The Complete 1973 Fantasy Recordings
Barbara Cook – Lover Man
The Bad Plus – Made Possible
Ricky Skaggs – Music To My Ears
No Doubt – Push And Shove
Lee Ritenour – Rhythm Sessions
Marc Johnson, Eliane Elias, Joey Baron and Joe Lovano – Swept Away
Bettye LaVette – Thankful N’ Thoughtful
WORLD OF WARCRAFT: MISTS OF PANDARIA (PC)
As someone who played WoW for a year and then quit out of boredom, I can tell you that pandas – as super cute and awesome as they are – will not going get me to play again. I’m fully away that they are revamping the skill system, adding a class, and doing all sorts of other things someone who isn’t currently playing the game won’t care about. It’s an MMO, and while Guild Wars 2 was a nice fresh change for that, the genre is as stale as can be and seems to be getting farther away from what I want out of games with every major release. With so many games taking the best of the social aspects and leaving behind the lopsided grind and tightly-wound meta game, there really is no reason to go back to subscription based MMO’s for that experience anymore. The market is overflowing with MMOs right now for those people searching for that specific game type. I don’t even know if WoW is the correct answer anymore. It’s a six-year-old game. But it’s the only non-Hello Kitty MMO that has pandas.
And that might actually be worth something.
FIFA 13 (PC, PS3, 360)
If you live somewhere that isn’t America you’ll probably be buying this game. That may sound like terrible stereotyping, but FIFA sells a billion copies every year and only 14 of those are sold in the States. You do the math.
PES 2013 (PC, PS3, 360)
Seriously? Two soccer games on the same day? Goddamnit Europe.
DEAD OR ALIVE 5 (PS3, 360)
Apparently, this one isn’t a volleyball game. And yet I’m willing to bet it will still have bouncing boob physics to rival the best (worst?) in creepy CG hentai.
ANGRY BIRDS (PS3, 360, 3DS)
It’s Angry Birds. For thirty dollars.
Thanks Jeb. Thanks Tony. Thanks everyone who reads and likes.
Though I’ve gotta’ say. For thirty dollars, the angry birds better be on a Blu Ray directed by Hitchcock.