The Weekend Movie Recap: 12/16/11

posted by Rolocop

SHAME – Michael Fassbender plays Brandon, a New York businessman who is a closeted sex addict.  The movie is about how crippled he is by his addiction no matter how hard he may try to form a relationship with a female co-worker or to have any kind of kinship with his destructive sister, Sissy (Carey Mulligan).  This movie is cold, bleak and depressing.  Yet, I was riveted throughout it’s entirety.  I don’t know what it is, but I just love films about loneliness and despair.  Fassbender is nothing short of amazing as Brandon. I would say he spends at least half of the movie acting with his face, without saying anything.  It’s a really hard thing to do, but he nails it.  The man has delivered a brave and commanding performance.  Carey Mulligan is also quite good as his burden of a sister, who just won’t move out of his place.  The movie is NC-17 and very graphic in terms of nudity.  But considering the subject matter, it’s very necessary.  There’s not much of a story here, but director Steve McQueen (no, a different one.  The legendary actor is dead, you know) is more interested in creating a dark and moody atmosphere to capture just who Brandon is.  There are many long unbroken takes, and sweeping steadicam shots that had me impressed.  If you need a more traditional structure in a movie, this might not be for you, but SHAME hit all the right chords for me.  Opens exclusively at The Uptown.  Rating:

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MISSION IMPOSSIBLE: GHOST PROTOCOL – I loved the first one.  I am a big Brian DePalma fan and I thought that he hit it out of the park.  Then John Woo destroyed the franchise with the second one, which was a big, PG-13 neutered mess.  But then J.J. Abrams rebooted the series with the third one, and it was a very intense and personal action movie.  Now, animation director Brad Bird (IRON GIANT, INCREDIBLES) makes his live-action debut with GHOST PROTOCOL.

The plot is a bit complicated, and I always have a tough time with story summaries anyway, but I will do my best.  Tom Cruise is Ethan Hunt once again, and the picture starts with him being rescued from a deep undercover assignment in a Russian (I think) prison.  He is now put on another mission to stop some nuclear warheads from getting in the wrong hands.  This time he has Jane (Paula Patton), computer jockey turned field agent Benji (a returning Simon Pegg), and an analyst played by Jeremy Renner.  Along the way there are twists and surprises as well as some rousing action set pieces.

Early buzz has been really high for this latest Mission Impossible.  Let me just say this:  It’s NOT the best one.  That would still be DePalma’s.  And this isn’t as emotionally involving and urgent as the third one, but it’s light years better than the second.  In fact, it’s a pretty fun movie.  The pre-title sequence is terrific, which has Cruse breaking out of prison while Sinatra’s “Ain’t that a kick in the head” plays in the background.  It’s a taut and precise action sequence not without it’s touches of humor.  I also really liked the scene in which Cruise scales a building with some electro-gripping gloves (seeing that in IMAX makes it even more dizzying).  The best set piece for me was the one that isn’t spoiled in the trailers: a fist fight set in a parking garage with moving floors and platforms.  That was awesome.

Brad Bird certainly knows how to handle action, and I’m delighted to see him direct in a more traditional way rather than use the shaky cam technique.  Even at 50, Cruise is still a believable action hero, though this is the first movie that has him taking the backseat for a few action scenes.  I would say Renner, Pegg and Patton all have equal screen time with Cruise.  This is the first of the franchise that is actually an ensemble piece, just like the original series was.  So it’s more than just “The Tom Cruise Show”.  Patton proves herself worthy as an action star and has some great bad ass moments.  Renner is good as usual, even injecting a bit of humor in his performance.  But I thought Simon Pegg was in this too much.  Yes, I get he’s the comic relief, but there were times that he got too goofy for the series.  It worked better in the third one when his time was limited.  But he doesn’t bring the whole ship down.

The movie does tend to get long in spots, and I thought the end prologue was not entirely necessary, but overall it’s strengths conquer it’s weaknesses.  Oh yeah, and Michael Gicacchino’s score is even better than his score in the third one.  It’s a fun popcorn movie for the holiday season that should satisfy the masses. Opens this weekend in Imax only.  It opens wide Release on 12/23.   Rating:

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TOMBOY – A French movie about a boyish looking girl named Laure whose family moves to a new neighborhood.  When she meets a friendly girl named Lisa, she tells her that her name is Michael.  Laure fools the neighborhood kids into thinking she’s a boy, but she gets in too deep when Lisa starts to develop feelings for Michael.  What I liked about this was how honest it was.  It’s not interested in typical storytelling conventions.  It doesn’t judge anyone.  It doesn’t even give you many character motivations (which may frustrate some viewers).  Instead, it simply just shows the viewer the situations that Laure creates and what she must deal with.  The performances from the kids are impressive and the direction is refreshingly organic.  My only complaint was that it’s too short (only 78min.).  I would have liked to see more of the consequences that Laure must face, but I still found this one to be interesting to watch.  And when things went wrong I found myself genuinely caring for Laure.  This opens at Landmark’s Edina.  Rating:

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Also opening this weekend:

SHERLOCK HOLMES: A GAME OF SHADOWS – Even though it wasn’t really faithful to the original novels, I thoroughly enjoyed Guy Ritchie’s first adaptation of the famous sleuth.  So you can imagine my huge disappointment to discover that this sequel was loud, obnoxious and incoherent.  The actors were fine (though I couldn’t decide the reason for Noomi’s character), and there was one effective torture scene, but all of the charm and wit that was in the first one is replaced with twice as much action (and poorly directed, I might add) and a slapdash screenplay.  I liked Guy Ritchie better when he had something to prove, now he’s just jerking off.   Wide Release.  Rating:

ALVIN AND THE CHIPMUNKS: CHIPWRECKED – Wide Release.  I missed this screening because I went to the wrong theater.  My daughter was disappointed, but I wasn’t.  My father will take her, but I’ll probably skip this one since I didn’t like either of the other ones.






Anticipated Films: MS ONE: Maximum Security (AKA Lockout)

posted by Andrew Cross

Oh. What do we have here? Space? Action film? Luc Besson production? Guy Pearce as a badass, Snake Plissken like character?

Yes please.






In Flames at First Avenue

posted by MP Johnson

I never fault bands for changing. Go ahead. Try new things. I’ve always got the old stuff to listen to if I don’t like the new stuff. Still, there’s a fine line between adding new dimensions and morphing into a band that plays a completely different genre of music. Early In Flames stuff is classic. That cannot be disputed. Over the years, they’ve introduced more melody and smoother vocals. Songs like “Trigger” worked for me.

But now a line has been crossed. I just watched this new video and it veers a little too close to Linkin Park style mainstream rock. It doesn’t help that it looks like a fucking Nickleback video. I’m done. I’m out.

Actually, I still might go see them at First Avenue. They’ll probably play “Trigger” and maybe throw in one oldie. Hopefully.

Tuesday, January 24
First Avenue
5 PM | $25 | All Ages






Father’s Day at the Uptown Theatre

posted by MP Johnson

Father’s Day, the new Troma movie, will be playing on February 10 and 11 as part of the Uptown Theatre’s Midnight Madness. Troma mastermind Lloyd Kaufman didn’t write or direct it, but still… If it’s even half as good as Poultrygeist, the last Troma release that made it to theaters, it’s going to be worth checking out. And based on the preview, I’ve got high hopes.






Anvil at Station 4

posted by MP Johnson

If you were one of the lucky people who saw Anvil (the band) play after Anvil (the movie) at the Uptown Theater a couple years ago, you know exactly how fun the Anvil live experience truly is. The movie does not do justice to how seriously in love these guys are with playing heavy metal. Whether you like their tunes or not, the fun they’re having is totally contagious. This is a must see show.

Wednesday, February 22
Station 4
7 PM | $15 | 21+






Danzig of the Week: Ted Leo’s Cover of “Skulls”

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.

So, if you’re not aware, Danzig doesn’t always do it right. He screwed over Minneapolis fans a while back by ditching out on a Cabooze show at the last minute. He ruined a good thing for a lot of people at Fun Fun Fun Fest in Austin last month when he went on so late that his Danzig Legacy set got cut short before he could dig into the Misfits stuff.

Just to make sure everyone at the fest at least got their fair share of Misfits at the Austin show, Ted Leo, who fronts an awesome Misfits tribute band called TV Casualty, took time out of his set to cover “Skulls.” Not exactly an even trade, but better than nothing.






The Weekend Movie Recap: 12/9/11

posted by Rolocop

Well, you might as well just watch ADVENTURES IN BABYSITTING this weekend.  The new movies just aren’t that impressive.  Of course, if you’re craving to see a film in the theater, I still highly recommend HUGO and THE MUPPETS, which are two of the year’s best.

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Movies Opening this Weekend:

THE MAN NOBODY KNEW: IN SEARCH OF MY FATHER, CIA SPYMASTER WILLIAM COLBY – Probably the best of the new crop of flicks this week is this Documentary that examines William Colby’s life.  It’s decent but I felt that they focused too much time on Military history than Colby’s actual personal life, whom I thought the movie was supposed to be about. Opens at The Lagoon. Rating:

YOUNG ADULT – Not a fan of Diablo Cody and I was one of the few who thought JUNO was overrated.  Teaming up with Jason Reitman again, this one isn’t any better.  Despite a fully committed performance by Charlize Theron and a resurgence of one of my favorite bands Teenage Fanclub, the lead character is just not likable at all, which is the point I guess.  Also, Reitman’s direction leaves much to be desired.  Overall, it’s a pretty dreary experience that I wouldn’t want to visit again. Opens exclusively at The Uptown.  Rating:

NEW YEAR’S EVE – If you liked Garry Marshall’s VALENTINE’S DAY then you’ll like this one.  I think both are star studded, mediocre TV Sitcoms, which I prefer watching at home (if at all) than on the big screen.  It’s safe, unchallenging and sure to be a hit, which says a lot about today’s American audiences.  But when you see 400 films a year (like myself) you tend to want to see something that shakes you up a bit once in awhile. Wide Release. Rating:

LE HARVE – I’m sure I’m in the minority here, but I thought this foreign film about an old man hiding an illegal immigrant in his house fell flat.  I really enjoyed the color palette, but the acting and story felt forced and deliberate, which I think is the director’s style, but I just didn’t get into it at all.  I’m sure there is an audience for it though. Opens at The Edina.  Rating:

THE SITTER – Yup, watch ADVENTURES IN BABYSITTING instead.  Jonah Hill plays a supposed fat nice guy (but he’s actually an obnoxious asshole that just can’t get laid) who babysits 3 spoiled brats and they get into inappropriate adventures.  I love offensive and vulgar humor…….. but when it’s funny.  Hill is severely unlikable here as he tries to act ghetto through every scene.  It also doesn’t help that David Gordon Green’s direction is completely sloppy, as if he just didn’t care at all.  What was up with all the Pre-Film school Hip-Hop music video jump cuts?  This was atrocious!  Wide Release. Rating:

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Better luck next week!






Ryan Adams Week: Day 3

posted by Richard Gill

Up until Ashes & Fire Ryan Adams has had a pretty open policy about fans recording his shows, even allowing them to patch into the soundboard most of the time. This has given way to a mountain of bootlegs that range (both in quality and performance) from pretty awful to mind blowingly awesome. In anticipation of his upcoming performance at the State Theatre on Dec. 13 I thought I’d take a look back at some of my favorite bootlegged shows. Bear in mind that these aren’t necessarily the best shows just a small sampling of some of the more memorable shows.

Note: All shows are freely available on archive.org unless otherwise noted.

Band: Ryan Adams Solo / Ryan Adams & The Cardinals
Date: 09.18.2006
City/Venue: London, ENG – Bush Hall

This is an interesting show for a couple different reasons. First of all, it starts out with just Ryan playing solo before being joined by the rest of The Cardinals minus drummer Brad Pemberton (according to Ryan he missed the show because he was buying lasers) for the last 6 tunes. Secondly, it seems Ryan took this opportunity to bust out a number of tunes that had yet to be released including a handful that are still not officially available plus one, “Funny Face”, that has only ever been played at that show.

This show took place shortly after Ryan got sober so there is a lucidity to the performance that is missing from earlier shows and gives the songs a bit more depth. Not to say that drunken Ryan couldn’t deliver the goods as well but personally I prefer sober Ryan. I think he comes across as much more genuine and funny in these later performances.

The standout tracks on this are definitely the ones that have yet to be released. “Don’t Get Sentimental On Me”, a song he recorded during a session for the movie Elizabethtown, is to this day my favorite of his unreleased song, “Arkham Asylum” is a murder story wrapped in Batman mythology and the haunting “Everything Dies” is performed with such heartbreaking conviction that it’s no surprise it was retired from the set a week later.

If you have the time I suggest downloading all 11 shows from this UK run since they are all fantastic.

SETLIST

01 Don’t Get Sentimental On Me
02 Oh My God Whatever Etc.
03 Lighthouses
04 Two
05 Everything Dies
06 Funny Face
07 Rip Off
08 Elizabeth You Were Born To Play That Part
09 Strawberry Wine
10 Sweet Lil Gal
11 My Winding Wheel
12 Tears Of Gold
13 Goodnight Rose
14 Arkham Asylum
15 Blue Hotel
16 A Kiss Before I Go
17 Cold Roses






Ghost at Station 4 (Re-Do)

posted by MP Johnson

Remember when Ghost was going to open for Enslaved at Station 4, but it didn’t happen because they couldn’t get their visas because they’re fucking ghouls? Well, they’ve worked everything out and are now scheduled to headline a show with the flute-wielding Blood Ceremony and Ancient VVisdom.

Wednesday, January 25
Station 4
7 PM | $13 | 16+






Ryan Adams Week: Day 2

posted by Richard Gill

Up until Ashes & Fire Ryan Adams has had a pretty open policy about fans recording his shows, even allowing them to patch into the soundboard most of the time. This has given way to a mountain of bootlegs that range (both in quality and performance) from pretty awful to mind blowingly awesome. In anticipation of his upcoming performance at the State Theatre on Dec. 13 I thought I’d take a look back at some of my favorite bootlegged shows. Bear in mind that these aren’t necessarily the best shows just a small sampling of some of the more memorable shows.

Note: All shows are freely available on archive.org unless otherwise noted.

Band: Ryan Adams Solo
Date: 10.30.2002
City/Venue: Portland, OR – Roseland Theater

One of my favorite artists in one of my favorite cities. Awesome. This show is an interesting companion piece to yesterday’s pick in that while it can still be considered a “raucous” rock show this features Ryan playing solo (aside from a few songs which feature cello accompaniment) as opposed to featuring a full band. Perhaps the word raucous is a bit misleading. Loose would probably be a better description.

This show was the last of Ryan’s 2002 US solo tour and mere days before his birthday so the recording finds him in high spirits joking with the crowd and even giving a bunch of his stuff at the end of the show since according to him, “they won’t let me take this stuff on the plane to Berlin.” I’d be interested to know if the person who got the stool still has it.

As far as the setlist goes it’s heavy on Heartbreaker tracks and the slower tunes from Gold with a few cuts from Demolition thrown in for good measure. He busts out a few covers as well including a stark piano only version of “Brown Sugar” that is the polar opposite the one from the First Avenue show. The entire set is pretty damn near perfect however the belles of the ball are the improvised “Pissin’ On A Cowboy” and Cookie Monster’s version of “Oh My Sweet Carolina” entitled “Oh My Sweet Chocolate Cookie”. It’s little touches like those that show that even though a lot of his work is dark and depressing he still has a sense of humor about his songs and songwriting in general. That definitely helps since This show took place around the time that Ryan was developing a reputation as being inconsistent and a bit of a crybaby. Thankfully there is none of that in this recording.

SETLIST

01 Oh My Sweet Carolina
02 Tomorrow
03 Chat
04 Sweet ‘Lil Gal (23rd/1st)
05 Bartering Lines
06 The Fools We Are As Men
07 Sylvia Plath
08 To Be Young (Is To Be Sad, Is To Be High)
09 My Winding Wheel
10 The Rescue Blues
11 When The Stars Go Blue
12 Pissing On A Cowboy
13 Oh My Sweet Chocolate Cookie (‘Cookie Monster’)
14 Dear Chicago
15 Chat
16 You Will Always Be The Same
17 Call Me On Your Way Back Home
18 The Lovesick Blues (Hank Williams)
19 Brown Sugar (Rolling Stones)
20 La Cienega Just Smiled
21 Come Pick Me Up






Getting Even is Done. Bummer.

posted by MP Johnson

Hardcore bands don’t tend to have very long lifespans, so it’s not unexpected when they go away. Still, I would have liked Getting Even to stick around a little longer. Unfortunately, they played their last show on Friday with Tenement. It was awesome. Check out “End Credits” above and pick up their 7″ if you haven’t already.






Ryan Adams Week: Day 1

posted by Richard Gill

Up until Ashes & Fire Ryan Adams has had a pretty open policy about fans recording his shows, even allowing them to patch into the soundboard most of the time. This has given way to a mountain of bootlegs that range (both in quality and performance) from pretty awful to mind blowingly awesome. In anticipation of his upcoming performance at the State Theatre on Dec. 13 I thought I’d take a look back at some of my favorite bootlegged shows. Bear in mind that these aren’t necessarily the best shows just a small sampling of some of the more memorable shows.

Note: All shows are freely available on archive.org unless otherwise noted.

Band: Ryan Adams & The Sweetheart Revolution
Date: 12.05.2001
City/Venue: Minneapolis, MN – First Avenue

I thought it would be appropriate to start with the very first Ryan Adams show I ever went to. This was also the first time Ryan played First Ave. and seemed genuinely excited about it. The next time he played First Ave. was the scene of his legendary meltdown on stage that seemed to turn a lot of people off him for a while but thankfully, this show was the exact opposite. To be honest, I don’t really remember a whole lot about this night due to excessive alcohol consumption both during the show and in the years since which has rendered my memory pretty much useless. I’ve also never actually listened to this particular bootleg due to the fact that this is one show that I’d prefer to remember how I remember it happening which may or may not be how it actually was. That being said, there were a few moments that definitely still stick out in my brain.

Here they are (in no particular order)

– The incredibly ballsy move of opening with the single “New York, New York”. Keep in mind this was only a few months after 9/11 and that song was everywhere. It’s a testament to both the confidence of Ryan and the deepness of his catalog for him to know that even though a decent chunk of that crowd only knew him from that song he could keep their attention for the next 2 hours and change.

– Ryan announcing that Lost Highway had just signed Johnny Cash, Willie Nelson, and The Jayhawks. He seemed especially excited about the Jayhawks signing.

– It was so packed that after getting a few beers from the bar I followed an attractive girl through the crowd since people were more apt to move out of her way than mine at which time I overheard some guy say, “How does a guy like that get a hot girl like that.” I thought that was pretty funny.

– At one point Ryan pulled out his wallet and bought a case of beer for the people in the front so they didn’t have to battle the crowd to get to the bar.

– My favorite memory of the entire night was hearing the whole room sing along to “Come Pick Me Up” and “Rocket Man”. It was a goose bump inducing moment that I’ve never experienced again at a live show.

SETLIST
1. New York, New York
2. To Be Young (Is To Be Sad, Is To Be High)
3. The Rescue Blues
4. Touch, Feel & Lose
5. I Don’t Wanna Work
6. Nobody Girl
7. When The Stars Go Blue
8. When The Stars Go Blue
9. Tina Toledo’s Street Walkin’ Blues
10. Bob Dylan (improv)
11. Sin City (The Flying Burrito Brothers)
12. Lovesick Blues (Hank Williams)
13. Harder Now That It’s Over
14. Brown Sugar (The Rolling Stones)
15. Somehow, Someday
16. La Cienega Just Smiled
17. Firecracker

Acoustic Encore
18. My Winding Wheel
19. Don’t Ask For The Water

Band Encore
20. Honey, I’m Just Trying To Take You Home
21. Slave (The Rolling Stones)
22. Come On Little Girl
23. Lord, Tell Me How It’s Gonna Be
24. Come Pick Me Up
25. Rocket Man (Elton John)






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