The Bourne Legacy Trailer

posted by Andrew Cross

While taking a break at work today, I was able to catch part of The Bourne Supremacy. I kept thinking, “Damn these movies are awesome. Can’t wait for that new one with Jeremy Renner playing another agent with the same name as my cousin Aaron.”

Came home to see this, so I think it looks amazing. I’m feeling very biased right now.


Get Ready For PS Vita

posted by Andrew Cross

For those of you who don’t know (which is many, considering how little advertising there is for it), Sony has a new handheld coming out on February 22nd. It’s called the PS Vita and looks legitimately tight.

The amount of features this things carries is huge. So luckily, the PlayStation Blog has put up a comprehensive video that lays out all of the cool stuff the Vita can do. It doesn’t say whether or not the Vita employs dark magic to do what it can do, but we may get another video on that later.


FemShep In Mass Effect 3, Shank 2, And Bodiless Boyfriends In Lollipop Chainsaw

posted by Andrew Cross

The female version of the Shepard character from the Mass Effect series gets a standout trailer for the upcoming third chapter slated for March 6th on PS3, Xbox 360, and PC.

I never got to the first Shank game. I heard average to OK things about it. I don’t know what to think really, because sequel looks awesome. You can download it now on XboxLIVE Arcade, PSN, and PC.

This could be my Shadows of the Damned this year, as it’s a game that doesn’t give fuck and just wants you to have a good time. Seeing as how it’s from the same studio, I’m confident in that statement. It’s expected to hit later in 2012.


Danzig of the Week: “Am I Demon”

posted by MP Johnson

MP Johnson listens to a lot of Danzig and he likes to share. So take heed, brain eaters, and enjoy this week’s dose of the demon.

“Faces of a million hells rage inside these veins.”

Stick with this video. For the first four minutes, you get the same black and white performance footage that graced the majority of the classic Danzig videos. When you hit the four minute mark, the wait pays off. The image of the goat-headed demon being crucified with a bikini-clad woman gyrating against him is one of those rare perfectly metal – and perfectly Danzig – moments.

The Movie Weekend Recap: 2/10/12

posted by Rolocop


PINA – Acclaimed filmmaker Wim Wenders’ new film has been nominated for Best Documentary.  It’s not a Documentary in the traditional sense.  It’s between a biography and an experimental art film like Koyaanisqatsi……. kind of.  Actually, it’s more like a concert film, but with gorgeous images.

Pina Bausch is a German modern dance performer/choreographer.  She died in 2009, and this film is a loving tribute to her work.  It’s a series of her most notable dance pieces performed by dancers who have worked with her.  In between the pieces, we meet each dancer as they give testimony to why Pina was the greatest at what she does.  It’s not bogged down with back story about her personal life.  No.  This is all about her work.  The result is surprisingly entertaining.

The film is shot in 3D, but (not unlike Scorsese with HUGO) Wenders does a marvelous job making sure that there are multiple depths of field in every shot, giving each image an elaborateness.  I found every performance to be unique and exhilarating.  Wenders also switches back and forth from shooting dances on a stage to using public locations.  My favorite pieces were:  One where a guy keeps moving chairs rhythmically to the music, one where several men are clawing at a woman, one where a girl keeps falling headfirst into a man’s arms, and the opening dance where people are dancing on dirt.  It’s all quite amazing.

This has some of the most fantastic moments you’ll see in a film involving performance art.  It may be a bit arty for some, but those who appreciate this sort of thing (or those who like to try new and different things) will surely enjoy it.  I think it’s perfect for this to come out on Valentine’s Day weekend.  The dances are magical and romantic, and I think it’s the best date movie out there.  It opens this weekend at the Showplace Icon.  Bring a date, go up to the bar beforehand, have some fine wine, and see PINA.  It’s a perfect night out!  Opening at Showplace Icon in St. Louis Park Rating:


STAR WARS EPISODE I: THE PHANTOM MENACE – So sue me!  I unapologetically love the prequels.  I think it’s great that a generation that hasn’t seen them on the big screen will get the opportunity beginning this weekend!  I can’t wait to bring my kid! In Wide Release.  Rating:



The Oscar Nominated Shorts – Starting this weekend at The Lagoon, you’ll be able to see the 5 Live action shorts and the 5 animated shorts nominated Academy Awards, with separate programs for each category.

First, The Live Action Shorts – I wasn’t too impressed with many this year.  My least favorite being RAJU, about a couple adopting and then losing an orphan.  It was pretty bland.  TIME FREAK has a (too) cute premise about a guy who invented a time machine, that just feels like a hack student project with a larger budget.  PENTECOST is a fun (but hollow) one joke-gimmick about an altar boy obsessed with Football (Soccer).  The two best were: THE SHORE starring Ciaran Hinds in a light-hearted drama about a Irishman who returns home to make amends with old friends.  It’s a slight little movie, but the acting made it worth watching.  My favorite had to be TUBA ATLANTIC from Norway.  It’s about a cranky old man who’s going to die in 6 days, and is visited by his death angel-in-training (who turns out to be a teenage girl with braces).  They bond by killing seagulls and trying to use his giant Tuba as a communication device to contact a friend who lives in the States.  It’s a strange movie, but it’s the only one with a sure sense of style.  It was fun.






The Animated Shorts – Still a mixed bag, but well worth the trip to catch this program.  WILD LIFE is about a Englishman trying to start a life in early 1900’s America. I found it to be dull and indulgent, with a crude animation style that just didn’t work.  DIMANCHE/SUNDAY also has a low budget animation style.  It just follows a family on their normal Sunday routine without anything really exciting happening.  It has a slight charm, but that’s about it.  A MORNING STROLL shows a chicken coming home in three different time periods.  20’s, present, and 50 years in the future (with the animation style changing with the times).  It begins with subtle humor and ends with a loud and bizarre chase.  It’s a one joke short, but it works.  LA LUNA is the latest from Pixar.  Not surprisingly, the animation is perfect and the whimsical story (a boy learning how to clean stars off of the moon with two old men) is charming.  But the best of the bunch is THE FANTASTIC FLYING BOOKS OF MR. MORRIS LESSMORE, which is an homage to Wizard of Oz and Buster Keaton (the main character even looks like him.)  In a year that saw both THE ARTIST and HUGO in movie theaters, this fits right in with filmmakers paying homage to the golden age of cinema.  Everything about it is wonderful, and is filled to the brim with imagination.

WILD LIFE -Rating:



LA LUNA -Rating:



Also opening in theaters this weekend:

THE VOW – I’m really starting to like Channing Tatum.  When he first started out in STEP UP, I thought he was a joke, but I think he’s improved immensely.  He’s the best thing about this pretty standard romantic melodrama about a young woman (Rachel McAdams) who can’t remember anything about her husband (Tatum) after a car accident.  The scenes the two leads have together are effective and the direction is actually really good, but the cliched subplots involving McAdams’s parents (when the hell did Jessica Lange become a bad actress and get a munchkin voice?) and her ex had me yawning.  Girls who want to see a romance just to see a romance on Valentine’s Day will like… because they’ll want to.  Me?  I wanted more.  Not terrible though.  Wide Release Rating:

SAFE HOUSE – Ryan Reynolds and Denzel Washington do what they can with this standard action material, but the movie becomes almost unwatchable during every action scene thanks to lots of shaky-cam and poor editing.  Wide Release  Rating:

JOURNEY 2: THE MYSTERIOUS ISLAND – The Rock is so much better than the material.  His pecks provide a few laughs (even if it makes no sense within context of his character), but the movie is like JURASSIC PARK….. but without the likable characters, a sense of danger, state-of-the-art visual effects, solid writing and it being entertaining.  Kids were laughing during it, so maybe if your kids have been raised on poorly made Nickelodeon films, they might enjoy it.  But I show my kid good movies like TIME BANDITS and WILLOW, so I won’t be taking my daughter to this crap.  Wide Release.  Rating:

CONQUEST – Wasn’t screened for me.  At St. Anthony Main.

Turisas at Station 4

posted by MP Johnson

The above video is like the Road Warrior with accordion. Because that’s just what the Road Warrior needed. Anyway, Turisas and their folk metal brethren playing the Paganfest 3 are so schlocky and fun they’re worth checking out. Don’t be surprised if you find yourself smiling and pounding your fist in the air during an electric violin solo. You won’t be alone.

Friday, April 6
Station 4
7 PM | $30 | 16+

The Faust Questionnaire: Bizarro Author Tony Rauch

posted by MP Johnson

Have you heard of the Proust Questionnaire? This is the same thing, but a little more evil. Who cares about favorite colors anyway? Every Wednesday, Switchblade Comb will feature bands, authors, filmmakers and artists providing answers to much better questions. Starting things off is Twin Cities bizarro author Tony Rauch.

If you made a deal with the devil, what would you get out of it?

The deal would be that the devil turns into a nice old man who gives away various free ice cream products in the summer and free hot cocoa in the winter.

So I guess on the days that he’s in my neighborhood, I’d get free ice cream or hot cocoa, depending on the weather.

What would the devil get out of it?

Oh, my, but so many wonderful things –

  • a sense of social responsibility.
  • a warm feeling from helping others.
  • the knowledge that he did a good deed that day.
  • a stronger connection and bond to others in this world.
  •  some special new friends. Oh, my, you can never have enough special friends.
  • the responsibility of taking the fall for all my peeping tom activities.

What does your hell look like?

A lonely, barren, wind-swept desert where there is nothing to do. Just a flat, open plain of nothingness but sand, dust, and wind.

So pretty much like my life is right now, actually.

(did I die and people forgot to tell me? Do people just assume I know these things? No, really, am I a goner? Come on, man, stop holdin’ out on me. Really.)

What is your favorite sin? Why?

Of the seven deadly ones (also known as the Capitol Vices and the Cardinal Sins), the one I most enjoy is Lust. And by far. I mean it’s not even close, baby. Pride is a distant second, then Wrath, and I don’t even really care much at all about the other four.

Oh yeah, give me Lust any day, for I am a weak weak pathetic individual who should not be left unattended for any length of time whatsoever. Really, you should be checking in on me, like, every ten minutes.

Though I am trying to be more patient, as that is the Virtue opposite Wrath.

Of the Ten Commandments, the one that keeps kicking my ass all over the place is “keep holy the Sabbath day”, and then “you shall not take the name of the Lord your God in vain.” I need to put in a lot of time at getting better at both of those. Whoa, Nellie, let me tell ya. And they’re number 3 and 4 on the big list, so yeah, I’m in a lot of trouble over here. Yeah, things aren’t going to be pretty for me after I go.

What historical or contemporary figure would you choose to fight for your honor against the devil? Why?

Simplest question ever – either Shatner, Chuck Norris, or Droopy the cartoon character (a dog). The first two need no explanation. The Droopy reference may need some elaboration – Droopy moved slowly and lethargically, and spoke in a jowly monotone. I believe his slow nature would quickly wear down the patience and thus the resolve of virtually any and all hostile aggressors, whether they be contemporary, historical, mythological, and/or fictional.

Eyeballs Growing All Over Me …Again, Tony Rauch’s latest collection of short stories, is out now. He’s got a new one coming out in the next few months: As I Floated in the Jar. Support local writers.

Teenage Strangler – Dark Sun

posted by MP Johnson

I’ve been psyched about this band for awhile, but their recorded material up to this point was a mere two song 7″ and a tune on a split with the Bombay Sweets. Not enough. Thankfully, their new record packs in a few more songs that somehow seem to be simultaneously noisy and withdrawn, but endlessly catchy. Listen to them here. Then buy a copy or do the name-your-price download.

M.I.A. – Bad Girls

posted by Andrew Cross

The official video for her new single. Her new album is expected Summer 2012.

TMNT at the MOA

posted by MP Johnson

I would never tell you to go to the Mall of America unless you absolutely had to, but in this case you absolutely have to. To coincide with the new Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles TV show, Nickelodeon is installing Shell Shock, a ride that involves whipping your body around in all sorts of unnatural ways. But you have to enter through the sewer to get there! It opens in March. If that’s not enough to convince you to take a trip to the MOA, at least keep your eye out for the new show or even pick up a copy of the new Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles comic, which is kicking a decent amount of ass.


Nato Coles at Grumpy’s Every Saturday in February (Free)

posted by MP Johnson

First things first, as I pointed out in my post about Grant Hart’s Grumpy’s residency, Haze’s posters for these residency shows are amazing. Is that the demon Etrigan I see? Why yes, I believe it is. Of course, you don’t go to shows because of posters. You go for rock ‘n’ roll. Or beer. What the fuck do I know? Well, I know that Nato Coles and the Blue Diamond Band can write a mean song, and you can’t beat free.

Every Saturday in February
Grumpy’s Downtown
10 PM | 21+

The Weekend Movie Recap: 2/3/12

posted by Rolocop

A SEPARATION – From Iran comes this Oscar nominated drama about a family being torn apart by a crisis.  It begins with a married couple separating.  The wife wants to move to another country for a better life for her and her daughter, but her husband wants to stay and take care of his father who has Alzheimer’s.  Their daughter wants to stay with the husband.  Since the wife used to took care of the old man, the husband hires a woman to take care of him while he is at work.  But something happens, and the grandfather ends up being mistreated.  This leads to a dispute with the hired help that ends with major consequences.  I don’t want to give any more of the story away, for I believe that the film’s strength is the way the story unfolds.

This movie has been getting very high marks from critics across the globe, calling it one of the best films of 2011.  I’m going to be the prick to knock it down a few pegs.  It’s not THAT good.  I liked it, but it’s not close to being one of my favorite films of last year.  Apart from the single take pre-title sequence, the direction was pretty mediocre.  Director Asghar Farhadi’s direction is simple, but nothing special.

However, the film is elevated by a script that kept me compelled by not resorting to the standard storytelling conventions.  It’s a very realistic movie.  And the acting is pretty fantastic.  Every performance rings true, especially Peyman Maadi as the husband, who gives his character many layers.  I would also like to point out Shahab Hosseini as the husband of the hired help, who probably has the showiest performance of the film, but is entirely grounded in reality as he displays rage, humility, and shame.  These things make me overlook Farhadi’s ordinary style.

This is definitely a front runner to win Best Foreign film and is certainly worth a look.  Don’t expect is to be the greatest, but you will find a slow, quiet, heartbreaking, honest slice of reality.  It took me about half the movie to get into it, but I’m glad I stuck with it.  Exclusively at The Edina.  Rating:


CHRONICLE – Great!  Another “found footage” movie.  Ever since the brilliant THE BLAIR WITCH PROJECT, there have been many types of these movies.  My personal favorite is MAN BITES DOG from France, which was made about 7 years before BLAIR WITCH.  I have liked quite a few of them actually.  CLOVERFIELD is the best recent one, but I also enjoyed PARANORMAL ACTIVITY and THE LAST EXORCISM.  However, I think I’m getting burnt out of the gimmick, cause every time I hear about one, I roll my eyes.  How many times can one see this type of thing before it’s overdone?

Unlike most entries of this sub-genre, CHRONICLE is not a horror film, but a superhero movie.  We meet Andrew, a High School outcast who purchases a camera so he can record everything around him, including his alcoholic father’s violent behavior.  During the first 15 minutes we see how awkward he is as he records his High School experiences.  We also meet Andrew’s cousin Matt, and class president Steve.  While at a party, they walk into the woods and discover a hole in the ground which leads them to a strange glowing object.  The camera goes dead, and the next time Andrew is recording, he has a new camera and superpowers, along with Matt and Steve.  At first, they use their telekinetic powers to play jokes on innocent people, but when Andrew accidentally puts someone in the hospital, they realize that their powers require rules.  Throughout they get stronger, even learning to fly.  Also, the three begin to change, especially Andrew, who feels like his power makes him superior to others.

As how old as this “found footage” formula is, I was kind of surprised how watchable it was.  And it was pretty darn well directed by 26-year old Josh Trank.  First of all, if you’re going to enjoy this movie, don’t over think how things are being filmed.  Technically, it’s not plausible at all.  It starts off with Andrew and others holding the camera, but then we are introduced to a chick who also likes to shoot things, so we see things from her camera occasionally as well.  But then Andrew learns to control the camera with his mind, which allows the camera to seemingly float around the characters.  And then at the finale, Trank decides to open up the spectacle even more by using surveillance cameras and passerby’s using their cellphones to capture all the action.  While it’s pretty neat, as a filmmaker I couldn’t help but think “There’s no way that cellphone can record that high of quality footage”, but then I realized that I’m looking for technical logic in a movie about superheroes.  So I just had to accept it.

What works is that we really do get to know the characters, in particular Andrew and Matt.  I thought their arcs were pretty good.  Dane DeHaan gives a highly effective and intense performance.  During the second half, Trank pulls off some pretty spectacular things.  The first flight sequence was amazing.  The way it was shot was exhilarating and had my heart racing.  The finale is a clever play on the usual epic superhero battle, using Seattle’s famous Space Needle as a backdrop.  There’s a great single-take shot from inside the car, as it rises up to the top of the building and then crashes to the ground that made my jaw drop.  The ending was satisfying, if a little corny.

Comic book geeks and superhero fans should really dig this.  I even think that people who hated other movies of this type (like CLOVERFIELD) will enjoy it because it doesn’t have that shaky-cam style.  It’s a slick looking flick.  CHRONICLE is  not perfect, and you definitely just have to go with the formula, but if you do that, you should find a fairly rousing piece of entertainment.  In Wide Release.  Rating:


Also opening this weekend:

THE WOMAN IN BLACK – I really liked the look, mood, tone, and atmosphere of this Gothic supernatural horror film, but I just didn’t find the story all that compelling.  Daniel Radcliffe gets an “A” for effort for tackling a grown up role (he plays the widowed father of a 4 year old), but he still looks too young for the part.  He does a fine job I guess, but he doesn’t really have a character to play as he just slowly walks through the hallways of a haunted house for most of the running time.  There are also one too many “boo” moments that are too obvious and take away from the creepiness.  The potential is there, and die-hard horror fans (I’m definitely not one) may find something of merit here, but it just didn’t hold my interest.  Wide Release. Rating:

THE THEATER BIZARRE – Another horror anthology film.  This time we have six tales from different filmmakers telling strange, gory and revolting stories.  These films are usually a mixed bag, but this one is mostly bad.  THE MOTHER OF TOADS is by far the worst displaying bad acting, directing and writing.  In fact, most of the stories feature acting as bad as the WITCHCRAFT series.  Some of them even have the same production values.  Tom Savini directs one called WET DREAMS, but despite his solid brief cameo, it’s disappointing.  The last two, VISION STAINS and SWEETS have great premises and twisted direction, but they’re not fleshed out enough to be fully satisfying.  Only THE ACCIDENT by Douglas Buck (which is the shortest at about 12 minutes) is any good.  It’s about a little girl who witnesses someone dying in a car accident and then the mother has to explain to her about death.  It’s a beautiful, and haunting piece that has some solid acting.  But it’s not really a horror tale, so I’m not sure how it really fits into this series.  Horror fanatics will probably want to see it just because they have to see anything that’s labeled a horror film (those people really bug me), but as a whole, it’s a rather dismal experience.  And not in a good way.  Showing only at Midnight this Friday and Saturday night at The Lagoon.  Rating:

THE BIG MIRACLE – I missed my screening when I went out of town to play in a roller derby bout.  I will be taking my daughter to it this weekend, so I’ll try to update this article with my review later.  Wide release.

THE HIDDEN FACE – Was not given a screener.  Only at Block-E

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