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This is most likely going to be one of those long, rambling journal entries covering a whole gamut of happenings/listenings/watchings. You've been warned.
New Year's Eve:
J and I decided to go to first night Worcester this year. There wasn't anything of note going on in Boston, and there were a couple of bands that we wanted to see. The most memorable act of the night was a guy by the name of Gideon Freudmann. He's a classically trained cellist, who just happens to use guitar effects pedals and looping pedals on his electric cello to compose lovely layered improv. He'll record one bit, loop it while recording another and repeat until he has up to 3 loop cycles + live playing.
The 2nd act of the night was a highly regarded local band by the name of the Deadites. Amusingly enough, the local paper had them down as a Grateful Dead cover band...they're actually a goth metal/rap band. They were awful. The lead singer spent the whole set pacing the stage or singing with his back to the audience. He was ok when he was rapping, but he couldn't sing worth shit. He'd get horribly nasally. Why people like these guys, I will never know.
All in all, though, it was a fun night.
So I've got a few album reviews up there for albums I got for Christmas. Let's start with the Crash Test Dummies album.
Crash Test Dummies: [i]Songs of the Unforgiven[/i] Let me just say that this is a good album...really good...Ghosts that Haunt Me good. This is the album that I've been hoping for years that Brad had in him. When I started listening to it I was amazed that, not only did it NOT suck, it was GOOD. Rather than being recorded in a studio, the album was recorded in an old church in Duluth, Minnesota. The acoustics are gorgeous. Brad is accompanied by traditional instruments...no electric instruments here. The church's 19th century pipe organ features prominently, as do harps and kettle drums. The album is very dark...mostly dealing with death, the passage of time, sinners and repentance. There are also a couple about love and hope to balance out the mix a bit. I think Brad must have found god or at least quit the drugs and booze because there's not a single song about either on the album. The songs are very structured, with a very cohesive feel. Several of the songs are actual sonnets. Ellen Reed features prominently on many songs, nicely balancing out Brad's bass baritone.
Angels of Light: [i]Everything is Good: Please Come Home[/i] I listened to this album the first time after the CTD album. Strangely enough, the lead singer sounds like Brad before his voice completely changed, and the album feels very similar. It's a much more experimental album than the CTD album, but it IS an aural treat. Great songwriting abounds with very similar themes to those on the CTD album. Really, an absolutely fantastic album. Thanks, Vic! :)
[i]The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou[/i] It continues to amaze me that Bill Murray is such a good actor. There's really no one even close in Hollywood these days. The special effects are suitably cheesy, but it doesn't matter, because the movie isn't really about Steve's film The Life Aquatic. J and I both loved this film, although I will say that I liked it slightly less than [i]Lost in Translation.[/i] Nevertheless, the characters are memorable and the acting superb.
Fuck yeah! Bob Mould is back to touring again, rather than just DJ'ing, which is what he's been up to for a couple of years. He's playing here in Boston in January. I don't care what it takes, I WILL be at that show!
J and I saw Team America: World Police this weekend. What a great way to waste one and a half hours. The movie spoofs are great, as is the soundtrack. The movie was also just the right length. I was worried that I'd get bored watching a movie of puppets, and I would have if it had been longer. The puppet sex scenes are absolutely ridiculous. Watch out for the deadly panthers, too.
There aren't too many movies coming out that I have much interest in. I'm looking forward to Blade: Trinity, but that's about it. I think Hollywood has run out of ideas.
I found out this last weekend that the Bijou Cinema in Worcester is closing soon because the building they're in is being torn down. It's a great little 3-screen indie theater with a bar and a Mexican cafe. They also host photography exhibits and live performances in their lobby quite often. It's a fantastic place to see an indie movie, and the only place around me, really. J and I have a real nostalgia for the place since it's where we went for our first date. After we get back from our trip to Canada, we intend to go back to see one last show.
Speaking of first dates, we celebrated our one year anniversary last weekend. God, time flies by. For my gift, J left me a copy of the movie we went to see on our first date "The Holy Land". He likes to sneak (ok, he has a key) into my house while I'm gone and leave me gifts...very cute.
Our trip is mostly planned. We have places to stay, anyway. Other than that, our schedule is pretty wide open. We're going up into Vermont and then into Quebec City, over the backside of the river to Montreal and back home via New York. Work's been insane...I can't wait to get away for a while.
We went to see Shaun of the Dead last weekend. I don't know what it is with Brits and zombies, since they've put out two zombie movies in as many years, but Shaun of the Dead is a BLAST. I don't know the last time I laughed so hard. The movie just works on so many levels. And, for you Office fans, the guy who plays Tim has a bit role, and the girl who plays Dawn has a pretty major role.
J and I watched this last night and absolutely loved it. Who would have thought that an animated film with no dialogue would fly by faster than most of those with dialogue? Just to make things even better...J grew up a couple towns away from Bellville. He was howling at the frog-grenade scenes.
The action is fantastic, and the characters are remarkably well-developed. Grandma and Bruno are particularly wonderful. The music kept the movie moving along at a nice pace, and the animation was spectacular. Few animated movies these days even try to pull off such style, and far fewer actually succeed.
I really expected this to be more of a tale of "rock-n-roll" rather than a growing pains/angst story. Thank god the boy doesn't get the girl in the end...if it had ended that way, I think I'd have had to rid myself of dinner. It all ended a bit too happily for my taste. Rather than learning the hard lesson of the vapidity of the rock star life, all is fixed in the end.
Anyone else notice all of the Elton John songs in the movie? What was up with that?
Phillip Seymour Hoffman was great, as usual. Billy Crudup was adequate, although I don't really care for him. Kate Hudson's perky breasts made a very marvelous appearance in a see-through shirt. The rest of the cast were mostly forgettable.
So, in the end, this movie gets a big "meh" from me. It wasn't terrible, but it definitely wasn't great.