Not a lot of stuff worth chasing down this week. Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter makes a strong case for Timur Bekmambatov heading back to Mother Russia and mounting the next Night Watch film.
We’ve reached a place where post conversion is, if built into the production process from the start, every bit as effective as shooting in 3D. The techniques are actually being employed in films that are shot in 3D, and when you consider that many of the shots in today’s blockbusters are often constructed entirely in CG…and that an effects house needs to render the views for both eyes anyway…conversion has become valid in a way we might not have anticipated in the wake of the Clash of the Titans debacle. What remains to be seen is whether or not post-conversion will be used properly. Just because you can…
I, Robot becomes the first film to be post-converted to 3D specifically for the home video market this week, and while the film is of interest for its world building and some nifty set pieces, I don’t know if people are chomping at the bit to revisit the adventures of Detective Spooner (the expanding market for 3D in the home has catapulted the newly-released 3D version of Avatar into Amazon’s top twenty sellers, while Robot sits, at the time of this writing, at 324). I’m sure the studio looked at some numbers to make the choice – but it seems to me that there are a few films in the Fox library that might have been more compelling to fans of the new format.
In the end, there’s only one film to really recommend.
Film composer Chaning Tattum cements his bankability and likeability in Steven Soderbergh’s Showgirls with dudes. But the question remains, did audiences show up for Tatum…or PETTYFER?
Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter
Agatha Christie’s Poirot: The Early Cases Collection
Aria: Scarlet Ammo
Blade Runner – Really? Blade Runner again? With a trinket? Poor form, Warners.
Disney Fairies: Secret of the Wings
Doors: Live At The Hollywood Bowl 1968
I, Robot 3D
Lost Girl: The Complete First Season
Madea’s Witness Protection – Timed to coincide with the release of the sequel, Alex Cross Dresser
Naruto Shippuden The Movie: Will of Fire
Peter Gabriel: So Classic Album
Puppet Master X: Axis Rising
Seeking a Friend for the End of the World – Carell and Keira handle the apocalypse and one another. Looked interesting, but reviews have been mixed.
Star Wars The Clone Wars: The Complete Season Four
Sunday, Bloody Sunday (Criterion)
Take This Waltz – I have no problem following Sarah Polley into the pit of despair. Your mileage may vary.
Where the Yellowstone Goes
BAT FOR LASHES – THE HAUNTED MAN
In the eccentric Brit-thrush stakes, Natasha Khan steps up to the plate with a new one that exchanges the overwrought Amos-like angst of Two Suns for something approaching Kate Bush in reportorial mode. Though the best songs here are certainly personal, high points like “Laura” and ” “Marilyn” are sympathetic observations of her fellow beings; I may not have bought into the “navel-gazing” criticisms of Khan’s previous work, but material like that brings a welcome broadening of perspective: “You’re the train that crashed my heart / You’re the glitter in the dark.” Musically, the progression is just the reverse, with the sonic pallette more stripped and focused, but ear-catching nonetheless: this time, strings and synth swell beneath her voice, rather than bathing it, letting the repeated sighs of “Thank God I’m alive” caress, rather than hector (production assistance from Beck doesn’t hurt). Oh, and I guess you can’t really review this album without mentioning the cover; now I’ve mentioned it.
TITUS ANDRONICUS – LOCAL BUSINESS
The Monitor was one of those projects whose ambitions were so wildly outsized and unlikely (Patrick Stickles isn’t the first writer to do the romance-as-war analogy—Richard Thompson and Elvis Costello, among others, have rung those changes for years—but he was the first one I know of to successfully hang the metaphor on one indecisive 19th century naval encounter) that it seemed almost churlish to point out the scarcity of such bourgeois refinements as hooks and melodies (and friends who saw them live said that, stripped of much of the studio folderol and guest-star cameos, the material was much stronger). This time, the only hints of retro are the cheesy cover graphics and the “hell-yes-we’re-from-Jersey” radio-ready two-guitars-bass-drums sound. Which actually makes this the slyer, and more subversive album: set against a standard pop-album framework, sentiments like “Your dick’s too short / To fuck the world“, and concerns about “My Eating Disorder” are more inclined to pull you up short. And the sobering (in more ways than one) “Upon Viewing Oregon’s Landscape with the Flood of Detritus” and ten-minute closer “Tried to Quit Smoking” demonstrate that streamlining the music does nothing to inhibit Stickles’ ambition.
OTHER NOTABLE 10.23 RELEASES:
AC/DC – Dirty Deeds Box Set
Black Moth Super Rainbow – Cobra Juicy
Clan of Xymox – Kindred Spirits
Colin Blunstone – On the Air Tonight
Crack The Sky – Ostrich
Noel Gallagher – International Magic Live at the O2
Philip Glass, My Great Ghost, Tyondai Braxton, Nosaj Thing and Dan Deacon, Rework-Philip Glass Remixed
Josh Groban – Konosaki No Michi
The Jim Jones Revue – Savage Heart
Led Zeppelin – In the Light (Box Set)
Leona Lewis – Glassheart
Lil Wayne – Dedication 4
Mos Generator – Nomads
Vinnie Paz – God Of The Serengeti
Pet Shop Boys – Leaving Pt. 1
The Residents – Eskimo
Stone Sour – House of Gold & Bones Part One
Tweaker – Call the Time Eternity
FORZA HORIZONS (360)
Forza has always been Microsoft’s answer to Gran Turismo. It was a little less stale, but still all about the cars. With Forza 4, the series went full on car brochure and arguably perfected the genre. With Horizons, the franchise aims to reach a more casual racing crowd. It’s is a mix between the car porn of the past games and the open world, street racing of the Need for Speed franchise and Burnout Paradise. It also looks gorgeous and was developed by a who’s who of the racing genre. Of course next week, Criterion releases Need for Speed: Most Wanted – which will likely muck up any goodwill this game has. So 360 owners should act now before a better option comes along. Just like buying a new car.
MEDAL OF HONOR: WARFIGHTER (PS3, 360, PC)
Remember when Medal of Honor was a World War II game with Steven Spielberg’s name attached? Now it’s a modern war game called fucking Warfighter. Which would be the dumbest name I’ve ever heard if Warface wasn’t a real game.
But hey – besides the stupid name and bland setting, the game looks terrible and buggy.
And the beat goes on and the beat goes on and the beat goes on. Dig it.