The week of 3/01/2011
group edited by: Troy Anderson
Director: Danny Boyle
20th Century Fox
Disc 1: Theatrical Feature Blu-ray
127 Hours is a film that the audience ignores at its peril. While some could right it off as a distant cousin to Boyle’s Slumdog Millionaire, James Franco raises the material above and beyond what is expected. While most will groan on about the weird editing, the constant Libatique style camerawork or the slapdash flashbacks…Franco centers the film. He provides so much heart in his portrayal of Ralston, that one finds it hard to look away. Franco had no chance to take Best Actor this year, but one can appreciate that he got nominated. 2010 will be remembered as a great year of new talent getting the prestige that they deserve. Pick up this flick and check out the Search & Rescue featurette after finishing the film. Great insight into a difficult story.
• Disney’s Second Screen – Content comes alive on your laptop, or iPad as you watch the movie.
• Disney View – 16×9 Full frame viewing experience
• Intro by Diane Disney Miller
• Inside Walt’s Story Meetings – Enhanced interactive edition
• Two never-before-seen deleted scenes
• Deleted song
• Blu-ray interactive galleries
• Game: Disney Big Book of Knowledge
• Classic DVD bonus features
DAUGHTERS OF DARKNESS
Directors: Harry Kumel
Bonus Film: The Blood Spattered Bride
Daughters of Darkness arrives on home video for those that can’t get enough Countess Bathory action. Blue Underground presents the Director’s Cut in High Definition for the first time, but there’s not a whole lot to experience. It’s strictly a Eurotrash horror flick bundled together with a Spanish flavored Grindhouse offering dubbed The Blood Spattered Bride. That second flick is in standard definition only, but it’s nice to have since the Anchor Bay disc has been on the verge of going Out of Print for ages. Delphine Seyrig is a sight to behold, as she guides you into a world of bloody boob goodness. It’s a great way to wash the High Prestige films out of your brain, as we move into the Spring/Early Summer Popcorn Cinema fiasco.
LOVE & OTHER DRUGS
Director: Edward Zwick
20th Century Fox
Buy it at Amazon!
Love & Other Drugs is an interesting failure because Anne Hathaway showed her lady parts. It also continues the long streak of crap films from humanlike director Ed Zwick. If someone told me that Zwick was an alien that spent his days trying to understand human culture via the films of Garry Marshall, I’d be able to forgive him. But, Glory must’ve been a fluke for this guy. He just stumbles through feature after feature with casts that are far too good for him. I can forgive a lot of Zwick’s transgressions due to Hathaway’s rockin’ tits. But, I’d recommend checking out the film just to see how Hathaway can shine in lackluster material. Plus, those rockin’ tits.
Section By Jeb D.
BUY IT FROM AMAZON!
I used to think that Lucinda Williams had the most affected singing style this side of Mick Jagger. When I finally heard an interview with her, I realized that she sings exactly the way that she speaks, and that the drunkard’s slur and swallowing of consonants were part of her natural vocal makeup… which means that, while I find her singing less of an affectation, it can still annoy the hell out of me. But her gifts as a songwriter are never in question, and this latest collection is some of her most powerful material yet. When you’re pushing 60 (particularly the kind of hard-living 60 that Williams has), death’s going to intrude on the subject matter often as not: “Copenhagen” tries to come to grips with the passing of her former manager, while the savage “Seeing Black” is a blast of fury and incomprehension at the death-by-overdose of fellow songsmith Vic Chesnutt. I think I’m a bit more sympathetic to Williams’ singing this time because she doesn’t seem to be using it in a bid for extra “rootsy” cred: with producer Don Was, Williams has crafted a straightforward rock album, with barely a hint of pedal steel or Americana in its arrangement or performance (even Elvis Costello steps away from his current “acoustic period” to play a blistering electric solo on “Seeing Black”). Every song on the album offers itself up with bleak honesty, and there’s not a duff cut here; in particular, the paired dichotomies of the title song (“We were blessed by the prisoner / Who knew how to be free / We were blessed by the homeless man / That showed us the way home / We were blessed by the hungry man / Who filled us with love“) become an aching catalog of a life lived to the full, while the final benediction of “Kiss Like Your Kiss” is a quiet torrent of memories and acceptance of time’s passage. Note that there’s also a bonus edition available that comes with the raw “kitchen table” demos of the songs.
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It’s all about girls with guitars these days; compared with Mary Halvorsen’s prickly jazz, and Marnie Stern’s buzzy pop, Anna Calvi exploits her Telcaster to color her sharp, intimate songs in a deep wash of shadowy reverb and bluesy flash. Her singing and writing have something of the rough operatic quality of the young Patti Smith (the pounding “Desire” could have opened either side of Radio Ethiopia), and there are times when the album feels like a dream collaboration of Smith and Tom Verlaine, though, of course, Calvi handles both roles herself (and Verlaine might be the single guitarist she most resembles). The opener, “Rider To The Sea,” begins with a flamenco cascade that leads into the darkly seductive whisper of “No More Words,” with the provocative surrender of “Hold me down / And give me all your power.” “Suzanne and I” has the grandiloquence of Eno-era Bowie, and “I’ll Be Your Man” is the kind of cheerful gender-fuck that the Thin White Duke himself would appreciate. Besides guitar and drums, Calvi and producer Rob Ellis mostly keep the sound spare, save for the eerie introduction of harmonium here and there: the focus remains on the Calvi’s huge guitar sound and sexual assertiveness: “First we kiss,” she purrs, “And then we lock the door.” The album closes with the mini-epic “Love Won’t Be Leaving,” with eerie minor-key riffs murmuring “Draw my name in the sand / And hope you’ll find me,” before the massed chorus of multi-tracked Calvis takes over and goes out in triumph.
GOING OUT IN STYLE
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I suppose it’s a sort of harmless marketing gimmick to have another new Murphs album in time for St Paddy’s Day, but it hasn’t always given them room to breathe from release to release. Given that last year’s was a live recording, the band appears to have taken the extra time to buckle down and apply the kind of energy to their writing that they always bring to their stage performance. Going Out In Style is a kind of loose concept album on the often difficult relation of Irish-Americans to the troubled land of their ancestry. The lads bring the military percussion and pipes and open-throated roar on the opener, “Hang Em High,” and there’s a touch of ould-sod sentimentality in “Memorial Day” and “Broken Hymns.” Of course, the album’s getting lots of attention for its penultimate track, as Bruce Springsteen joins in lustily singing on a cheerful rampage through the maudlin “Peg O’ My Heart,” but the Murphs have one last trick up their sleeve, going out on a rousing performance of “The Irish Rover” that would bring a rotted smile to Shane MacGowan’s face. Flogging Molly may remain the thinking-man’s post-Pogues Irish folk-punkers, but the Murphys are showing growth and staying power here that may yet give them pride of place.
ALONE AT THE VANGUARD
BUY IT FROM AMAZON!
Nicely titled, reflecting not only the latest release (Hersch performing solo at the legendary jazz club), but Hersch’s place of primacy among today’s jazz pianists. Not many artists would choose “In The Wee Small Hours Of The Morning” as an opener, but on this complete recording of a set from last December, Hersch takes Sinatra’s famous valediction and uses it as a template for the probing emotional journey of the songs to follow. He digs deep on a pair of pieces dedicated to his peers (“Lee’s Dream (Dedicated To Lee Konitz)” and “Down Home (Dedicated To Bill Frisell)”), and the color palette he brings to Monk’s “Work” is an ear-opener, even for those who know their Monk. There’s seduction in the Brazilian “Doco de Coco,” and the concluding exploration of Sonny Rollins’ “Doxy” is a long and penetrating examination of sonic possibilities. Top-drawer recording that puts you at a stageside table on a night of unforgettable jazz.
Other Noteworthy 3/1 Releases
Beady Eye, Different Gear Still Speeding. Noel Gallagher may not be Pete Townshend or Ray Davies, but if you think the man doesn’t know something about songwriting, give a listen to the remains of Oasis without him.
Harry Connick Jr., In Concert on Broadway. If what you mostly know of Connick is his profile as crooner and character actor, here’s a taste of why he’s so highly regarded as a jazz musician: he knocks off the standards to near-perfection (“The Way You Look Tonight,” “Bésame Mucho”), but the jaw-dropper is the concluding Crescent City trifecta of “Take Her To The Mardi Gras,” “Bourbon Street Parade,” and “Mardi Gras In New Orleans”: even if the man wasn’t a gifted singer and monstrously talented pianist, he’d still be regarded as maybe the best band leader working in jazz today.
Big Head Blues Club Featuring Big Head Todd and the Monsters , 100 Years of Robert Johnson. Given the strength of the material and the supporting cast (including B. B. King, Hubert Sumlin, “Honeyboy” Edwards, and Charlie Musselwhite), this would be a strong early contender for blues album of the year. However, it would help if that year hadn’t already seen the return of Gregg Allman, who supplies the kind of rough-hewn, instinctive singing that “Big Head” Todd Mohr can’t quite manage. Worth a listen or two for sure, though.
Lykke Li, Wounded Rhymes. If I’d had more time with this album, I’d likely have made it one of this week’s features; as it is, it’s going to take me some time to thoroughly digest its fascinating blend of dark pop, twisted Spectorisms, polyrhythms and fractured doo-wop… and that’s maybe half of the influences that this well-traveled Swede invokes on her second album. I won’t be surprised to find this high on my year-end list.
Buddy Miller, Majestic Silver Strings. The producer who assembled Plant’s Band of Joy scales back his ambitions by focusing his arrangements not on ambient exotica and percussion, but on a small army of genius guitarists (besides himself, there’s Bill Frisell, Marc Ribot and Greg Leisz) and vocalists (including Emmylou Harris, Patty Griffin, and Shawn Colvin) to produce a folksy bit of alt-country that’s always accomplished and pleasant, but rarely surprising (though, honestly, you have to hear Chocolate Genius’ version of “Dang Me”).
Devotchka, 100 Lovers. The kings of film and TV commercial music return.
The Baseball Project, Vol 2: High & Inside. More weirdly obsessive power pop on the subject of the National Pastime, with returning veterans Steve Wynn and Peter Buck melding with rookies Craig Finn, Steve Berlin, Ben Gibbard and John Moen.
edited by: Justin Clark
FIGHT NIGHT CHAMPION
I still don’t get how this series still has a following, especially after Punch Out on the Wii proved my theory that, just like Tecmo Bowl is the only football game that matters (though I am willing to hear deposition on the merits of Mutant League Football), Punch Out is the only boxing series worth a damn to anyone but the most hardcore. But then, EA Sports thrives on the jock crowd that buys one or two games a year, and for them, Evander Holyfield joining the ranks of Joe Frazier, George Foreman, and Muhammad Ali is probably Christmas wrapped in the 4th of July. Good for y’all. I’ll be here beating the shit out of King Hippo’s band-aid.
OOOHHHH: ON THE DLC TIP
DEAD SPACE 2: SEVERED
Xbox Live, Playstation Network
$6.99/560 MS pts
I’m about halfway through this, a progress that got blindsided when Marvel vs Capcom 3 hit. It’s so far a slightly lesser game than its predecessor, but not to a game-killing degree. I do, however, approve of taking a different road with the DLC, taking some of the ancillary characters from the Dead Space universe and giving them their own chance to get rendered limb from limb, especially for that price tag, and especially since it’s not as armpit-vagina useless as Extraction turned out to be.
BEYOND GOOD AND EVIL HD
Xbox Live Arcade, Playstation Network
$9.99/800 MS pts
Buy it. Don’t think. Buy it. Don’t look at the internet. Don’t fucking look at your bank account. Buy it. This is not negotiable. Buy it. You still reading this? The fuck’s wrong with you? I’m giving you permission. Close the site, get online, buy it. If you’re still reading this, you haven’t bought it yet. That means you suck. Why do you suck so hard? You know can cease to suck for the low low price of BUY IT. It’s fast and easy. Buy it. If you don’t buy it, the terrorists win. There. I had to go 2003 on your ass. You feel guilty? You should. But I did it, so you’d BUY IT. You know Uncle Mitch? He’s buying it. You know who else is buying it? Jesus. Why don’t you love Jesus? BUY IT.
ROCK BAND TUESDAY
Nine Inch Nails Pack 03 ($9.99/800 MS pts)
- Terrible Lie
- Head Like a Hole X
- The Only Time
$1.99/160 MS pts per track
X-Pro Guitar and Pro Bass expansion available for 99 cents/80 MS pts
More tracks from Academy Award nominee Trent Reznor*. Terrible Lie and Head Like A Hole are blessings from the stars. Sanctified and The Only Time wouldn’t have been my go-to Pretty Hate Machine tracks (that would’ve been Sin and Down In It), but they’re also tracks with tricky, probably frustrating as hell drum/keyboard work, and a challenge was what that last pack needed.
(*–why, yes, I did need to just type that out once to experience its awesome ridiculousness firsthand, how did you know?)
WHAT’S NEW ON DVD THIS WEEK:
Burlesque (PG-13) Love & Other Drugs (R) Faster (R) 127 Hours (R) What If... (PG) 420 High Desert Way (Not Rated) 5 Day Fit: Trouble Zone Solutions (Not Rated) Alive! Is Michael Jackson Really Dead? (Not Rated) Alonzo Bodden: Who's Paying Attention? (Not Rated) America's Great Westerns Volume 2 (Not Rated) American Experience: Triangle Fire (Not Rated) Angelina Ballerina: Ballet Dreams (Not Rated) Anneliese: Exorcist (Not Rated) A Beautiful Life (Not Rated) Beyblade: Metal Fusion Volume 3 (Not Rated) Bigfoot: Unforgettable Encounter / Little Bigfoot (PG) Billy Blanks: Bootcamp Cardio Sculpt (Not Rated) The Bleeding (R) Brenda Starr, Reporter (Not Rated) Cake Boss: Season 3 (Not Rated) Celtic Crossroads (Not Rated) Central State: Asylum for the Insane (Not Rated) Class / Johnny Be Good / Making The Grade (Not Rated) Classic Nudie Cutie Films Volume 1 (Not Rated) Curly Top / Dimples (Not Rated) The Cutting Edge: Fire & Ice (Not Rated) David Gray: Live from the Artists Den (Not Rated) Deepak Chopra: Grow Younger, Live Longer (Not Rated) Desperate Escape (Not Rated) Dickens in America (Not Rated) Dinosaurs: Giants of Patagonia (IMAX) (Not Rated) Disaster in the Air (Not Rated) Elmo's World: Penguins and Friends (Not Rated) Firm: Ignite Calorie Burn (Not Rated) Gaiam Portraits of Inspiring Lives: Bob Proctor (Not Rated) Gaiam Portraits of Inspiring Lives: Marcia Wieder (Not Rated) Genius Within: The Inner Life of Glenn Gould Girls Gone Wild: Blonde on Blonde 2 (Not Rated) Girls Gone Wild: Happy 18th Birthday (Not Rated) Good Boy / Fluke / Napoleon (Not Rated) Guys Gone Wild: Canadian Bacon (Not Rated) Harmony's Honeys (Not Rated) Harry Connick Jr.: In Concert On Broadway (Not Rated) In Loving Memory: Series One (Not Rated) Infinite Justice (Not Rated) Jillian Michaels: Ripped in 30 (Not Rated) Joey / Johnny Lingo / Lightning / Virginia's Run (Not Rated) Kaboom Kids: Favorite Friends (Not Rated) Kaboom: Awesome Adventures (Not Rated) Kennedy: Robert Kennedy and His Times (Not Rated) Las Munecas De La Mafia Part 2 (Not Rated) The Last American Virgin / Losin' It / Sure Thing (Not Rated) Leave It To Beaver: Season 6 (Not Rated) Mandy Ingber: Yogalosophy (Not Rated) Manhunt (Not Rated) Mari Winsor: Flat Abs Pilates (Not Rated) Midnight Horror Collection: Urban Legends (Not Rated) Murder Investigation Team: Series 1 (Not Rated) My Blog: Dangers of Texting (Not Rated) My Blog: Dealing with Bullies (Not Rated) My Girlfriend's Back (PG-13) My Girlfriend's Boyfriend (PG) Nancy Reagan: The Role of a Lifetime (Not Rated) Napoleon & Love (Not Rated) NHL Pittsburgh Penguins Greatest Games Volume 2 (Not Rated) Noah's Castle: The Complete Series (Not Rated) The Norman Conquests (Not Rated) Nova Science Now: Can We Make it to Mars? (Not Rated) Pioneers of Childrens Programs (Not Rated) Pioneers of Crime Dramas (Not Rated) Pioneers of Science Fiction (Not Rated) Pioneers of Television: Season 2 (Not Rated) Pioneers of Westerns (Not Rated) Prevention: 400 Calorie Fix Workout (Not Rated) Reboot: Seasons 1 & 2 (Not Rated) Road Trip Trilogy: The Triple 'D' Collection (Not Rated) S.W.A.T.: Firefight (R) Satin (Not Rated) Scooby-Doo! Curse of the Lake Monster (PG) Shaolin vs. 2 (Not Rated) Shape: Summer Sanders (Not Rated) Shin Koihime Muso Complete Collection (Not Rated) Sid The Science Kid Collection (Not Rated) Sidney Sheldon's If Tomorrow Comes (Not Rated) Sleeping & Walking (Not Rated) Super Mario Bros. Collection (Not Rated) Super Mario Bros. Collection (Not Rated) Tai Chi for Athletes (Not Rated) Thomas & Friends: Pop Goes Thomas (Not Rated) Trudie Styler: Weight Loss Yoga (Not Rated) Two Weeks in Hell (Not Rated) The Ultimate Wave: Tahiti (IMAX) (Not Rated) Walking on Water (Not Rated) Warrior Queen (Not Rated) Way Cool Science: All About Weather (Not Rated) Way Cool Science: Escosystems & Biomes (Not Rated) Way Cool Science: Habitats (Not Rated) Way Cool Science: Seeds & Plants (Not Rated) World of Horses: Season 1 (Not Rated) Wubbzy's Egg-cellent Easter (Not Rated) WWE: Royal Rumble 2011 (Not Rated) Yoga for Runners: Intermediate Program (Not Rated)
WHAT ELSE IS NEW ON BLU-RAY THIS WEEK:
Bambi (Two-Disc Diamond Edition)
Bambi (Two-Disc Diamond Edition) (DVD Packaging)
The Cable Guy
Genius Within: The Inner Life of Glenn Gould
Harry Connick, Jr.: In Concert on Broadway
IMAX: Dinosaurs – Giants of the Patagonia – 3D
IMAX: The Ultimate Wave – Tahiti – 3D
Love & Other Drugs
Michael Jordan to the Max
Out of Sight
Scooby-Doo! Curse of the Lake Monster
Faster $14.99 $19.99
Marley & Me
Julie and Julia
The Book of Eli
The Boondock Saints 2
TV on DVD SALE:
Mad Men: Seasons 1-3
Burn Notice: Seasons 1-2
Chuck: Season 3
One Tree Hill: Season 7
Smallville: Season 9
Weeds: Season 6
The Office: Season 6
Sons of Anarchy: Seasons 1 or 2
Bambi $12.99 $22.99
Faster $15.99 $19.99
TV on DVD SALE
Chuck: Season 3
Supernatural: Season 4
Smallville: Season 8
Gossip Girl: Season 2
VIDEO GAME SALES
– Buy 2 games, get the third FREE: valid on ANY $9.99 PSP games (see store for details)
– Buy 2 games, get the third FREE: valid on any PS3 Greatest Hits games (see store for details)
Fight Night Champion: $59.99 (360/PS3)
de Blob 2: $49.99 (360/PS3), $39.99 (Wii)
Kinect Sports: $29.99 (360 Kinect)
Test Drive Unlimited 2: $39.99 (360/PS3)
Mario Sports Mix: $49.99 (Wii)
de Blob 2: $39.99 (Wii)
Call of Duty Black Ops: $49.99 (360/PS3)
Dead Space 2: $49.99 (360/PS3)
Toys R Us:
Pokemon White Edition (available March 6): $34.99 (NDS)
Epic Mickey: $39.99 (Wii) – comes with free Epic Mickey T-Shirt. Yaaaaaay
Michael Jackson Experience: $34.99 (Wii)
Fight Night Champion: $59.99 (360)
Bulletstorm: $59.99 (360)
– Get any of the following three games for $20 (360 or PS3) with the purchase of Fight NightChampion or Bulletstorm: Need for Speed Hot Pursuit, Fallout New Vegas, Dead Space 2.
– Save$20 on any Kinect game with the purchase of a Xbox 260 Kinect
Fight Night Champion: $59.99 (360/PS3)
Killzone 3: $59.99 (PS3)
Bulletstorm: $59.99 (360/PS3)
Call of Duty Black Ops: $49.99 (360/PS3)