I’ve got to come up with a word for the phenomenon of me having such low expectations for a movie or book that when it doesn’t totally suck I come away feeling pretty good about it. Get Smart is an example of said phenomenon, holding it’s own in the snappy action comedy division. And, well, The Rock kills with his perfect comedic timing (really).
I don’t think you’ll be able to watch The Love Guru and not laugh. Whether you’re laughing at one of the numerous silly cameos, one of the numerous half-clever word plays, or one of 9 million 14 year old sex jokes is up to you. I actually enjoyed this one.
Christian Bale lost about 275 pounds for his role in this cross between Memento and Fight Club. And, man, did he look awful. You should watch this one, though, for all it’s faults, it’s on the higher end of 3 stars.
I didn’t much hope for Hancock after it failed to make much of an impact in the summer blockbuster market so I was happily surprised to not be mournfully disappointed. You see, I have a mancrush on Will Smith. Genuinely funny and worth the time, though I have a feeling the original idea was for this movie to be much longer.
Dude, what happened to this feature?
I got busy, okay? I kept meaning to do it, and– and– shut up.
Julie Sokolow–”Seasons”, from IndieFeed. “Spare?” Sure, but there’s “spare” and then there’s “boring.” This is boring. [1 star]
The Moore Brothers–”The Puppet”, from IndieFeed. Quirky, I suppose. It’s definitely quirky. It’s just not particularly, like, good. It’s not bad, either. It’s just not recommendable. [2 stars]
Warm In The Wake–”Tame Thoughts”, from IndieFeed. Finally, my head is moving back and forth while listening to one of these. It’s well-written, it’s catchy. “Acoustic, cosmic folk?” Sure. [3 stars]
I’m easing back into this; can you tell?
It’s a couple of days late, but I am committed to continuing this new musical feature. Here’s what ended up in my iTunes “Added This Week” playlist since January 8:
Beirut, “Elephant Gun” from IndieFeed.com. When the dude started singing, my hand hovered over the “skip” button, but as soon as the accordion kicked in, I let it play. And a good thing, too! The host compares them to DeVotchKa, whom I should really go back and listen to. 4 stars.
Guava Duff, “Destroyed” from IndieFeed.com. This one starts out with a handicap on account of the really stupid band name, but it’s catchy. The vocals are a little flat on the high notes, but I should probably shut up about that. It kind of sounds like every college band ever trying to sound jazzy, but for all that it’s listenable. 3 stars.
Monolith, “The Sounding” from IndieFeed.com. On my first listening, I was decidedly neutral. On second listening, I kind of like it. It’s got some nice melody going on. 3 stars.
Let’s Go Pop, by I Rock Cleveland. This is a mix of “power pop” made by, well, some guy, I guess. I had high hopes. I like pop! On downloading it, I find, style-wise, it’s more or less The Sounds of Matt’s High School Experience (1989-1993), with Brendan Benson and The New Pornographers thrown in. That isn’t a bad thing, but I wasn’t as thrilled on listening as I thought I would have been. There are some things I hadn’t heard before, but none of them are going to be a new favorite. That said, if you somehow haven’t heard “The Laws Have Changed,” you should grab it right now. Other highlights: Benson’s “Spit it Out,” and classics like Teenage Fanclub’s “Star Sign,” Big Star’s “September Gurls,” and, ironically, The Replacements’ “Alex Chilton.” Overall: 3 stars.
A 1-minute snippet of the Holmes Brothers’ cover of Cheap Trick’s “I Want You To Want Me,” a different exceprt from which can be downloaded here from Austin 360. Holy crap! As the man says, it’s “as pure an example of art and skill transcending and transforming what we would ordinarily take to be inferior materials” as you’ll find. So awesome. Want! 4 stars.
Apples In Stereo, “Energy”. Oh, Apples In Stereo. Does it get happier or peppier? I don’t think it does. This one is an instant sing-along. Just go download, and start your enjoyment. 5 stars.
New year, new co-blogger, new feature!
Introducing the Music Week in Review (ta-daaaah!) in which I lay bare the contents of my iTunes “Added This Week” smart playlist, and tell you what I thought of each song. Because you were dying to know.
My rating system in iTunes is based on how likely I am to skip the song when it comes up. 5 stars means almost never, 1 star means almost always. (1-star songs tend to get deleted.)
Without further ado, my additions between January 1 and January 7, 2007.
Chloe Day, “With You With Me” from IndieFeed.com. Cute! Pretty guitar work, vocal layering, and self-aware lyrics. Apparently, though, her usual genre is “Trip Hop / Gothic / Industrial” (according to her MySpace page, which isn’t my thing. Also, too much makeup. 3 stars.
Doveman, “Teacup” and “Honey”: I downloaded these songs after rediscovering Salon’s Audiofile column. Doveman is the band of the outgoing editor of the column, Thomas Bartlett. I… don’t love it. “Honey” has a kind of breathy Sufjan Stevens or Stuart Murdoch thing going, only not as good. They’re sung in such a gaspy tone that it’s hard to imagine how they’d perform live. Together, though, “Teacup” and “Honey” sound nice and soothing, as I have a bit of a sore throat. 2 stars.
Apostle of Hustle, “My Sword Hand’s Anger”: Very promising title! Swashbuckling! Or possibly maiden-rescuing! Verdict: meh. I need a strong hook to get me into a song and this one doesn’t really have it for me. The chorus is peppy, but the verses make me sleepy. 3 stars.
Kelly Harrell, “I Wish I Was a Single Girl Again”: A curiosity, to be sure. Worth a first listen; probably not much more than that. And yet, despite myself, I’m kind of bopping my head along. Fine: 2 stars.
James Yorkston, “Summer Song”: Weird. I like the pretty guitars. The harmonies have a kind of desperate quality that’s not particularly musical, but which is pleasant nevertheless. When the the other instruments kick in around 2:40, it’s beautiful. The whole song is a bit Iron and Wine-y, maybe? 3 stars.
Plush, “No Education”: Audiofile says, “one of the great musical achievements of recent memory, an album that inspires hyperbole along the lines of ‘one of rock’s great lost albums.'” I say, seriously? Liam Hayes sounds a bit like a fey Alex Chilton, or possibly Jeff Buckley with a cold. The orchestration is quite something, but I can’t quite get totally on board. Maybe further listenings will open my ears. 3 stars.
Plush, “I Sing Silence”: A rough mix from the upcoming Plush album. See above. So much potential. I love the music, but I’m distracted by the vocals. 3 stars.
Oren Bloedow, “Your Childish Dreams”: Pretty. Boring. 3 stars.
Hallelujah The Hills, “Hallelujah The Hills”: More than anything, this reminds me of “We Didn’t Start The Fire,” which is probably not a good thing. 2 stars.
Masonic, “End Of Summer”: I don’t know why I like this song so much. I think I’m an absolute sucker for quarter note organ hits. Her voice isn’t quite right, but I’m digging on this one. 4 stars.
The Main Drag, “A Jagged Gorgeous Winter”: Hey! Neat electronic beat. Maybe it’s a little long? My mind wandered. 3 stars.
This has been Matt’s Musical Week In Review. I left out the other things in my “Added This Week” playlist, which include the This American Life podcast, and 3 episodes of Scrubs that I bought. What? I like Scrubs. There’s no shame in that.