Saturday, September 27, 2014
Allmusic.com describes them best: "Arguably the most criminally under-recognized band of their era, the British duo A.R.Kane anticipated virtually all of the key musical breakthroughs of the 1990s a decade before the fact, with the roots of everything from shoegazing to trip-hop to ambient dub -- even those of post-rock -- lying in their dreamy, oceanic sound." I came upon them in 1988 by their first album 69, which pretty much blew my mind. Their subsequent albums "i" (1989) and New Clear Child (1994) received even more critical acclaim than their debut did, but even less audience.
Friday, September 26, 2014
"Few of rock & roll's great misanthropes were as talented, as charming, or as committed to their cynicism as Warren Zevon. A singer and songwriter whose music often dealt with outlaws, mercenaries, sociopaths, and villains of all stripes, Zevon's lyrics displayed a keen and ready wit despite their often uncomfortable narrative circumstances, and while he could write of love and gentler emotions, he did so with the firm conviction that such stories rarely end happily. Though he frequently worked with luminaries of the Los Angeles soft rock scene, Zevon was always the odd man out, someone who shared their exacting musical standards but not their smugly satisfied view of the world around them, and he remained a cheerful pessimist right up to the moment he met a fate that could have visited one of his own characters."(Allmusic.com)
Warren Zevon died of cancer in 2003.
A female theatre dresser creates a stir and sparks a revolution in seventeenth century London theatre by playing Desedmona in Othello.
Slightly entertaining, but not too engaging, drama that does have some great performances by the two leads.
Maltin**1/2: "Colorful, well-cast period piece doesn't completely convince us that its central character (and his sexual confusion) is all that interesting."
Thursday, September 25, 2014
Wednesday, September 24, 2014
"One of the quirkiest and most idiosyncratic groups to emerge from the early British new wave indie scene, Young Marble Giants (from Cardiff, Wales) were not so much new wave in sound as in strategy. They subverted conventional pop/rock methods by stripping both song construction and instrumentation to its essence. A reverberant funky bass, a shrill organ, short choppy bursts of guitar chords, a softly clicking drum machine -- that was all the trio needed. The hauntingly spacious sound was made both more intimate and foreboding by Alison Statton's coolly intoned, almost neutral vocals. The words were more important for their mood than their content. Pop minimalism of the first order, it now stands as one of the first fully formed expressions of the subgenre that would be called post-punk. Needless to say, it was also quite resistant to widespread commercial success, although it quickly attracted a cult following. Almost the whole of their output is contained on their debut and, as it turned out, their only album, Colossal Youth (1980)." (Allmusic.com)
Detective Sherlock Holmes and his stalwart partner Watson engage in a battle of wits and brawn with a nemesis whose plot is a threat to all of England.
The classic Victorian detective downgraded to contemporary cinema blockbuster standards; the sets are quite spectacular, though.
On second view: I still stay with my initial evaluation and must add the movie is quite boring despite all the spectacle.
Maltin**: "Murky, noisy, overproduced claptrap ...Annoying in the extreme - and unintelligible at times - the film gets better in the second half as an actual story emerges, but the overuse of Ritchie-branded editing and CGI effects is deadening."
Tuesday, September 23, 2014
In the midst of trying to legitimize his business dealings in 1979 New York and Italy, aging mafia don Michael Corleone seeks to vow for his sins while taking a young protégé under his wing.
It's a good movie with all the ingredients of the previous parts, but adds nothing in scope and depth, and the plot is not as stringently scripted.
Halliwell**: "Overlong, often confusing to those who cannot remember the earlier films, and hampered by at least one wretched performance, it fails to reach the standard of the first two movies in the series. But for all that it retains one's interest most of the time."
Maltin***: "Only a filmmaker like Coppola (teamed with writer Mario Puzo) could extend his history-making Mafioso saga and make it work so well. Absorbing story...Longish, but masterfully told, with one almost-fatal flaw: the casting of Coppola's daughter Sofia (an amateur) in the pivotal role of Pacino's daughter."
[N.B.: Although have criticized Sofia Coppola, I disagree: she plays adequate to the role. The problem is that the love story with her cousin is in itself misconceived from the start.]