The week of 2/01/2011
group edited by: Troy Anderson
LET ME IN
Director: Matt Reeves
Anchor Bay Entertainment
- Commentary with Writer/Director Matt Reeves
- From the Inside: A Look at the Making of LET ME IN
- The Art of Special Effects, Crash Sequence Step-by-Step
- Blu-ray Exclusive: Dissecting LET ME IN
- Deleted Scenes with Optional Commentary by Writer/Director Matt Reeves
- Trailer Gallery, Poster & Still Gallery
Let Me In was heralded by the internet film community as a remake that no one needed. Owen and Abby are no different than Eli and Oskar, but that might be part of the larger problem. Let the Right One In has a legion of die-hard fans and they’re very resistant to change. My issue with this is that they are cutting out a new section of fans. What Reeves does get right in this American reimagining is that the stark sense of being an outsider translates to anywhere in the world. Playing early 80s aesthetic against the stark cold world of the original allows for a vision of horror that doesn’t appear that often in American cinemas. There’s nothing scarier than growing up and Abby’s beady red eyes only serve to put a face on childhood horror.
NEVER LET ME GO
Director: Mark Romanek
20th Century Fox
A WOMAN, A GUN AND A NOODLE SHOP
Director: Zhang Yimou
Sony Pictures Classics
Buy it at Amazon!
• Over 100 minutes of behind-the-scenes featurettes.
A Woman, A Gun and a Noodle Shop makes me hopeful for future Coen Brothers remakes. That is if foreign powerhouse directors such as Zhang Yimou continues to handle them. While a lot of people haven’t taken to this adaptation, I have to admire its ability to break away from past Yimou films. Playing stark landscape against archetype, Yimou allows for the complexity of Coen’s Southwestern Noir to unfurl in a historical Chinese setting. I’d recommend a double feature with Blood Simple to set the mood. If you try to compare it to other Yimou offerings, you’ll be disappointed.
WELCOME TO THE RILEYS
Director: Jake Scott
- BD Live
Welcome to the Rileys marks another surprise for me from last year. I love James Gandolfini more than that most actors, so I’ve taken quite a few lumps following him into various cinematic features. However, this film from underrated director Jake Scott provides a far darker take on the usual grieving parent schtick. Gandolfini plays an older guy named Doug who has hit the end of the road regarding his marriage to Lois. On a business trip to New Orleans, Doug discovers a young stripper that looks like his dead daughter. Sparking up a truly fucked up relationship, Doug spends hundreds of dollars for the chance to keep this stripper in his life. As he begins to pull away from his life back home, his wife decided to make the trip to see this stripper doppleganger. Unfortunately, she doesn’t snap Doug out of his current funk, but elects to join him.
Section By Jeb D.
The Civil Wars
Iron and Wine fans perplexed by the kitchen-sink production of his major-label debut might give an ear to the duo of Joy Williams and John Paul White, whose first full-length album carries much of the same sober, restrained acoustic sound that marked Sam Beam’s early work. The Civil Wars seem to get lumped into the “country” section, primarily because a narrow-minded music marketing business doesn’t know what else to do with them, but apart from the occasional pedal-steel lick, and the occasional hint of Nashville twang in Williams’ singing, this is solid folk-based indie pop music. The subject matter can cover love and loss, but usually with a twist the listener doesn’t see coming (“To Whom It May Concern,” “The Girl With The Red Balloon”), sometimes sweet, sometimes bitter (“She’s the absinthe on my lips / Splinter in my fingertips / But who could do without you“). Contemporary notions of sin and salvation are given a once-over (and found wanting, often as not) on “C’est la mort” and the thundering title cut. The instrumentation of producer Charlie Peacock isn’t worlds removed from the dark acoustic-electric mix of T-Bone Burnett or Buddy Miller, and Williams is an elegant, expressive pianist. It’s the exquisite harmonic interplay that makes the album memorable, though, from the aching nostalgia of “My Father’s Father” to the shy, sly “I’ve Got This Friend.” Highly recommended, particularly to anyone waiting for the next Plant & Krauss.
The Go! Team
Talk about your kitchen sink: The production on the third album from The Go! Team makes the new Iron and Wine sound as simple as The Ramones, with bits and pieces of everything from girl-group pop to Philly soul strings, masses of brass that would serve the next “Rocky” film, squiggly synth-pop and dirty guitar noise, to baroque treated piano to… hell, I’m exhausted. But, then, just one listen to the high-energy opener, “T.O.R.N.A.D.O.” is a workout all by itself, and they’re just getting started: track after track on this insanely catchy album pulls something new out of its sonic hat, whether it’s the keening choruses of the title track, the insistent chant of “The Running Range” or the “Tusk”-like brassiness of “The Bust-Out Brigade.” Bethany Cosentino adds a terrific lead vocal on “Buy Nothing Day” and Dominique Young Unique fronts the nyah-nyah brattiness on “Voice Yr Choice.” Gleeful dance music for anyone who can’t be bothered with “Glee.”
SONGS FROM A ZULU FARM
Ladysmith Black Mambazo
Marking almost a half-century as African vocal music’s leading export, Joseph Shambala and his group show no signs of slowing down, and their latest offering is, within the formal structure of their Zulu tradition, one of their most varied and enjoyable yet. This first CD of a planned trilogy is a collection of children’s songs from the members’ youth; for all their simplicity, though, they’re rich in the stunning harmonies and sly vocal percussion that this superb a capella group is known for, so expressive that no translation is needed to feel the joy and warmth of childhood memories. Some of the tracks were laid down live on a South African farm, and the ambient sounds add to the transportive effect, from the rainfall in the background of “Imithi Gobakahle (Children Come Home)” to the giggling children delighted to be splashing in “Cabhayeye (Puddles!).” We get the homey concerns of farm life in “Wemfana (Bad Donkey)” and “Lezonkomo (Praise The Cows & Bulls),” but the onset of maturity and responsibility comes at an early age for a young South African in “Ekhaya (Don’t Leave Home Too Soon)” and “Thalaza (I Miss My Home, I Miss The Farm).” And they might be the first major musicians since Frank Sinatra to conclude an album with a (very distinctive!) version of “Old MacDonald Had A Farm.” In the years since Paul Simon’s Graceland, instrumental-based African musical styles have been the most familiar styles to Western listeners, as bands like Vampire Weekend absorb the guitar sounds of King Sunny Ade, and rootsy folks like Ry Cooder and Robert Plant give themselves over to the “Desert Blues.” This album’s a great reminder of how rich the vocal tradition of the continent is, as well.
LIVE FOREVER: THE STANLEY THEATRE, PITTSBURGH PA SEPTEMBER 23, 1980.
Recorded shortly before Marley’s death; powerful, vigorous performances of the pick of his catalog, with the added bonus of one of his best bands, in clear, vivid sound. You might not think you really need another version of “Jamming” or “No Woman No Cry” (and, truth to tell, you probably don’t), but if your Marley exposure tends toward the “Greatest Hits” type collections, this would be a fine introduction to such lesser-known gems as “Natural Mystic” and “Coming In From The Cold.” It’s also a good reminder that his transition to international icon status didn’t blunt Marley’s clear-eyed anger at a racist, imperialist world: it’s not particularly reassuring that “Burnin’ and Lootin’,” “Them Belly Full” and “Zimbabwe” ring as true, and as relevant, now as they did thirty years ago. And when the band rounds into the concluding “Get Up Stand Up,” in what would be Marley’s final performance of his signature song, you’d be forgiven for getting a bit choked up: reggae may have produced more exciting or imaginative musicians than Marley, but it never produced a finer humanitarian (not that any other musical form did, either).
Other Notable 2/1 Releases
Northern Mississippi All-Stars, Keys to the Kingdom. Good ol’ boys whose blues-rock engine purrs and growls like a ’51 Merc. “Hey Hey well well / All of y’all can go straight to hell / You seen the last of me / Pissin’ in your wishin’ well.”
Ricky Martin, Musica + Alma + Sexo. I once heard a remix of “Livin’ La Vida Loca” that stripped out everything but the guitar and percussion. It was pretty cool.
Red, Until We Have Faces. Competent metal crunch, vocals scaled into the exact range to tingle the adolescent hormones.
Joan as Police Woman, Deep Field. More of her patented blend of neo-soul and neo-classical. More interesting than Angie Dickinson, for sure.
The Rippingtons, Cote D’Azur. Russ Freeman’s latest world tour of expertly-played, sumptuously recorded modern jazz lite.
Cowboy Mouth, Mardi Gras. New EP for your Fat Tuesday party, with covers of Ernie K-Doe and Professor Longhair, as well as their Katrina song “Avenue.” Mighty kootie fiyo, if you know what I mean… and I’m sure you do.
The JaneDear Girls, The JaneDear Girls. The country costumes are out of Nashville central casting, the music generic pop-rock with just enough twang to hit the sweet spot of the cornpone diva market.
Marcus Miller, A Night in Monte Carlo. Stunning symphonic jazz, performed live with Miller’s quartet and the Monte-Carlo Philharmonic Orchestra, with guests including Roy Hargrove. “Blast!” and “State of Mind” are sumptuous, but “I Loves You Porgy” and “Strange Fruit” will speak directly to your soul.
edited by: Justin Clark
NO MAJOR RETAIL RELEASES THIS WEEK
You’re not done with Dead Space 2 already, are you? Didn’t think so.
…..btw, yes, I beat the first one this week. Leave me the hell alone now.
OOOHHHH: ON THE DLC TIP
CASTLEVANIA LORDS OF SHADOW: REVERIE
Xbox Live, Playstation Network
Lords of Shadow was pretty much the best thing to come out of this series since Symphony of the Night, and that was BEFORE you got to that holy shitballs crazy suckerpunch of a post-credits sequence. The big question now is where the series goes from there, and unfortunately, to answer that question, you’ll be waiting until April. This DLC has you back in the good old days, with Gabriel teaming up with creepy vampire moppet Claudia to take down her evil, super-hot, half-naked, vampire mom’s secret weapon. Knowing how bosses work in this game, I’m gonna guess it’s huge. And unblockable. Everything about this game has been pitch perfect so far. Please don’t break the streak by charging more than this is worth, Konami?
BIONIC COMMANDO REARMED 2
XBox Live, Playstation Network
2/1 PSN, 2/2 XBox Live Arcade
$15/1200 MS pts
I wish more studios *got* the whole remake concept as good as Capcom does. Stuff like BC: Rearmed, Mega Man Powered Up, Maverick Hunter, and the still criminally underplayed Strider 2 manage to take everything great about those series, give them the right aesthetic update, and tighten up everything else. Meanwhile, Konami churns out that bullshit Rocket Knight update, a completely busted Turtles In Time, and Silent Hill Shattered Memories, which is actually a decent game, but completely steamrolls the things that work about that series. Also, ICE IS NOT SCARY. Anyway, moral of the story is, Capcom loves you, and wants to see you happy. So they gave the good Bionic Commando remake a sequel. Give them money.
CALL OF DUTY BLACK OPS: FIRST STRIKE
1200 MS pts
….yep, it’s an overpriced map pack, all right.
Also, if you own a PS3? I’m very sorry.
ROCK BAND TUESDAY
The Clash – London Calling ($19.99/1600 MS pts)
- London Calling X
- Brand New Cadillac
- Jimmy Jazz
- Rudie Can’t Fail X
- Spanish Bombs X
- The Right Profile
- Lost in the Supermarket
- Clampdown X
- The Guns of Brixton
- Wrong ‘Em Boyo
- Death or Glory
- Koka Kola
- The Card Cheat X
- Lover’s Rock
- Four Horsemen
- I’m Not Down
- Revolution Rock
$1.99/160 MS pts per track
X-Pro Guitar and Pro Bass expansion available for 99 cents/80 MS pts
Another zero complaints accepted week. There ain’t a song on this album that you won’t hear for miles when this thing drops, and for good reason. I also think if you brought somebody in your life that Green Day game, you pretty much hand in your music-appreciation card if you don’t force them at knifepoint if necessary, to download this.
WHAT’S NEW ON DVD THIS WEEK:
WHAT ELSE IS NEW ON BLU-RAY THIS WEEK:
Beverly Hills Chihuahua 2 $17.99 $22.99
Horton Hears A Who (CG animated)
The Bourne Ultimatum
Bram Stoker’s Dracula
X-Men Origins: Wolverine
TV on DVD SALE:
Alice In Wonderland: 60th Anniversary Edition $19.99
Beverly Hills Chihuahua 2 $14.99 $19.99
Let Me In $13.99 $19.99
Never Let Me Go $13.99
The Long Kiss Goodnight
The Social Network
Saw: The Final Chapter
TV on DVD SALE
Dexter: Season 4
The Tudors: The Complete Final Season
Glee: Season 2 Volume 1
Criminal Minds: Season 5
NCIS: Season 7
VIDEO GAME SALES
Call of Duty Black Ops: $49.99 (360/PS3)
Little Big Planet 2: $59.99 (PS3)
DC Universe Online: $59.99 (PS3)
Fallout New Vegas: $39.99 (360/PS3)
EA Sports Madden 11: $44.99 (360/PS3), $34.99 (Wii)
Motionsports Play for Real: $44 (360 Kinect)
EA Sports NCAA Football 11: $44 (360)
Kinect Sports ($44 (360 Kinect)
EA Sports FIFA Soccer 11: $44 (360)
EA Sports Madden 11: $44 (360)
EA Sports NHL 11: $44 (360)
Select other games available at this price as well. See store.
Toys R Us:
Some NDS stuff
The Sly Collection: $29.99 (PS3 Move)
The Shoot: $29.99 (PS3 Move)
Heavy Rain: $29.99 (PS3 Move)
God of War: $59.99 (PS3)
God of War Collection: $29.99 (PS3)
- Get both God of War and GoW Collection for $39.98 (save $50)
Infamous: $29.99 (PS3)
Killzone 2: $29.99 (PS3)
Resistance 2: $29.99 (PS3)
Mass Effect 2: $44.99 (PS3)
Dragon Age Ultimate Edition: $59.99 (PS3)
- Save 50% on Dragon Age Ultimate Edition (PS3) w/ the purchase of Mass Effect 2 (PS3)
Some PSP stuff