I’ve been warning you guys that there was a storm coming. It’s here now.
Disney drops another diamond classic this week, boasting another incredible restoration and a sketchy message to young ladies.
I probably think too hard about these things, right…?
It’s a trifecta of JCVD releases this week. First up, Albert Pyun’s post-apocalyptic operatic odyssey where everyone’s named after guitars and stabbing each other in the eye socket all the time. Featuring the intense antics of Vincent Klyn and his awesome chain shirt. I’d take his chain shirt.
It’s a ’90s action flick, so chances are someone’s getting impaled on rebar or an exposed bolt. My money’s on exposed bolt.
Twice the VanFromage when brothers separated at birth are reunited by Geoffrey Lewis under the sturdy direction of Sheldon Lettich. Such a dopey/fun/great little film.
Joe Dante returns to remind us he’s one of the greats. Two brothers move into a boring little house and discover a doorway to their deepest fears in this awesome, intense, brutal little blast of a movie. Would have been nice to see a 3D release (the film was shot that way), but after a wait this long, I’ll take what I can get. You should too.
IN THE MOOD FOR LOVE
One of the great love stories of this or any age, there was a time when I would silently weep if I thought about this movie for too long (Strong men also cry. STRONG MEN ALSO CRY). I used to dream of the day that I could feel something like this – the profound power of it. I used to imagine I had a secret to tell a tree. I wondered if I could ever live a life where I could be as strong and as dignified as Mo-wan (Tony Leung).
But there is no way two people could mean this much to one another. No way longing like this wouldn’t kill a real human. No way a love this pure could exist. That’s why we have Wong Kai Wai. To grant us our dreams for just a little while. And our dreams never look better than when a tipsy Christopher Doyle is shooting them. This is a master filmmaker’s masterwork.
People took a steaming shit on this flick. I remember reading somewhere that it was much too broad. I guess a film about Nazis landing on the moon in 1944 to hide out until the moment is right to strike again should have been handled in dignified manner befitting the true story on which it was based. Me – I had a great time with the over the top dorkiness of this thing. Sure it might stand in the shadow of Strangelove – but it’s that kind of loud satire. And it works.
MASTERS OF THE UNIVERSE: 25th ANNIVERSARY EDITION
This is one of the titles I value the most this week – maybe this year. We have the power.
UNIVERSAL CLASSIC MONSTERS: THE ESSENTIAL COLLECTION
Brilliant restorations and CREATURE FROM THE BLACK LAGOON presented in it’s NATIVE 3D – this set is a must-own. As in: “Mine’s on its way from Amazon right now…”
Die Another Day
Downton Abbey: Seasons 1 & 2
Flying Swords of Dragon Gate – Tsui Hark. Jet Li. 3D. So why am I hearing this is a disappointment?
For Your Eyes Only
From Russia With Love
Golden Christmas 2
In The Mood For Love
Licence To Kill
Live And Let Die
Magic City: The Complete First Season
The Man With The Golden Gun
Masters Of The Universe 25th Anniversary Edition
The Milk of Sorrow
The Night Riders
Nikita: The Complete Second Season
Overland Stage Raiders
Peace, Love & Misunderstanding
People Like Us
The Princess Bride: 25th Anniversary Edition
Red River Range
Sound of My Voice
Three Texas Steers
Tom & Jerry: Robin Hood & His Merry Mouse
Train of Life
Universal Classic Monsters: The Essential Collection
The World Is Not Enough
FLYING LOTUS – UNTIL THE QUIET COMES
Given the almost certain impossibility of topping Cosmorama, Alice Coltrane’s favorite nephew has taken the wise course of drawing back from the precipice a bit, with an album that exchanges some of the over-the-top kitchen sink for a deeper, darker groove; bringing along some prominent guest vocalists helps this latest release stand on its own as well. “All In” opens the proceedings in familar fashion, with layers of hand percussion and slinky glissando, followed by first vocal guest Niki Randa slipping aside the beaded curtain of sound to deliver the seductive murmur of “Getting There.” Ellison fragments Erykah Badu’s voice into lush, shifting layers on “See Through to You,” while “Electric Candyman” lurches robotically as Tom Yorke provides a ghost in its machine. Don’t get the idea that it’s strictly a singer’s album, though: the expert way that Ellison (occasionally with bassist Thundercat) builds, deconstructs, and reconstructs the textures on tracks like “Tiny Tortures,” “The Nightcaller,” and “DMT Song” are the kind of thing that have you hitting repeat over and over, trying to puzzle apart Flying Lotus’ bag of sonic tricks.
DIANA KRALL – GLAD RAG DOLL
Expertly-played cocktail jazz is, in the end, still cocktail jazz, so the latest from Mrs. MacManus comes as a bit of a welcome swerve out of her comfort zone. Re-inventing herself as a Roaring 20’s hot mama isn’t that much of a vocal stretch, but the interpretive demands of reclaiming a song like “There Ain’t No Sweet Man That’s Worth the Salt of My Tears” or “I’m a Little Mixed Up” see Krall rising to the challenge of the dark, funky arrangements from her hubby’s old china, producer T. Bone Burnett, with wonderfully sympathetic support from guitarist Marc Ribot. That’s not to say that the album doesn’t have its gimmicky moments: we get Elvis C. himself imitating a carnival barker on “When the Curtain Comes Down”… and, of course, there’s that cover, trading on the ultimate gimmick.
MATT & KIM – LIGHTNING
There comes a point at which the virtues of a nostalgia for sugary 80’s pop start to curdle into a form of annoyance, no matter how cleverly you use your living room to DIY the production techniques of Stock, Aitken and Waterman or Vince Clarke. “Let’s Go” opens the album in a revel of radio-ready, but the sense that the passage of decades might deepen one’s understanding of a previous generation’s pop–in other words, the idea that there’s some reason to be revisiting this stuff beyond parading your influences–isn’t much in evidence. As a followup, the endlessly repetitive “Now” just seems to slam on and on to no great purpose– it’s not even particularly danceable, which is the usual mitigation for a droning synth overstaying its welcome (and “I Said” doubles down on both problems). “Much Too Late” tries to hype things up towards the end, with Kim’s unflagging drums slamming alongside Matt’s rinky-dink calliope of synths, but closer “10 Dollars I Found” should have been a classic b-side throwaway.
OTHER NOTABLE 10.2 RELEASES:
Muse – The 2nd Law
Tristan Prettyman – Cedar + Gold
Papa Roach – The Connection
Heart – Fanatic
Jerrod Niemann – Free The Music
Tori Amos – Gold Dust
Jake Shimabukuro – Grand Ukulele
Miguel – Kaleidoscope Dream
The Tragically Hip – Now For Plan A
DJ Drama – Quality Street Music
Iris Dement – Sing The Delta
Marillion – Sounds That Can’t Be Made
Cher Lloyd – Sticks & Stones
Beth Orton – Sugaring Season
How to Dress Well – Total Loss
The Mountain Goats – Transcendental Youth
Three Days Grace – Transit Of Venus
Tift Merritt – Traveling Alone
Various Artists – Who Are You – An All-Star Tribute To The Who (haven’t heard this one, but I would suggest that it’s highly unlikely that you’ll find another album anytime soon that features the combined efforts of – among others – Rick Wakeman, The Raveonettes, Dave Davies, The Damned, Todd Rundgren, Pat Travers, Iggy Pop, and members of Herman’s Hermits, Bachman-Turner Overdrive, King Crimson, Def Leppard, The Vibrators, and Paul Revere and the Raiders).
RESIDENT EVIL 6 (PS3, 360, PC)
Say what you will about the Resident Evil movie franchise – it knows exactly what it is, at least. The games can no longer claim that. Resident Evil 6 is a thirty hour game that has no idea what it’s doing. It features three separate campaigns – each trying to appease a different audience…and each one failing at that in a pretty spectacular way. It’s a bloated, confusing mess that can’t even pin down the basics of third-person action (which were established by RE:4).
The Resident Evil movies have Milla Jovovich, Michelle Rodriguez, and Ali Larter running around in tank tops. Your nerd hate is misplaced. Channel into something that’s actually shitty - like Resident Evil 6.
NBA 2K13 (PS3, 360)
Produced by Jay-Z and starring The Dream Team (the real one – the one that was on McDonald’s commemorative glasses), NBA 2K13 is upon us. I don’t give a shit about Basketball, but I still pop in my copy of 2K11 to be Like Mike and dunk over a few bald heads. HOVA, an updated roster, and more classic Basketball stars can only help the solid, accessible game.
Sorry about your wallet.