It’s a new month, folks, and with it comes some interesting new releases. Before we dive into those though, last week saw the release of the sci-fi thriller, Dark Skies, starring Keri Russell and J.K. Simmons (full disclosure; I’ve never heard of any of the other actors in the movie and I’m big Simmons fan so in my book, regardless if his screen time barely hits the 10-minute mark, he gets the shout-out). Produced by the same guy that brought us Paranormal Activity and Insidious, this one marks an entry into the much-missed alien abduction subgenre. I’m a fan of this genre in the same fashion that I’m a fan of the shark-movie genre, only problem is there aren’t many good entries in these categories. A fact that I would love to see remedied. Dark Skies isn’t an awful picture it’s just a boring one, with very little intensity and an easy-to-predict outcome. The trailer/movie boasts, “Once you’ve been chosen, you belong to them,” and it is quite easy to predict which family member is the chosen one, even though director Scott Stewart tried his damnedest to center the film on the decoy. Keri Russell does an okay job playing the mother/wife of the family, but the problem for me is that I don’t really find her all that attractive, so ultimately I didn’t really give a shit what happened to her. The father/husband (Josh Hamilton) is also easy to forget as a down-on-his-luck, out of work father. By the end of the film, Hamilton’s character provides little more than a skeptic nuisance to Russell’s loving/caring mother figure, and as obvious as the reason why this movie didn’t pull in major money, he’s proven wrong and that’s about all we get out of him. The lone creep factor came with the sight of the alien’s, but the sight of them is in the dark shadows, so our imagination is forced to fill in the gaps, hence the creepiness. All in all, neither Robert nor I cared much for the film, which is sad, because as written above, there are far too few Good entries into the alien abduction genre. Top of my head, Fire In The Sky is the best, and that movie even got trumped with SyFy’s Paranormal Witness episode that tackles the same story.
New TiTs: Breaking Bad 5, A Good Day to Die Hard, Identity Thief, Warm Bodies
As is 90% of the American population, I am a big fan of AMC’s Breaking Bad. And as was 90% of the American population, I came into it a little late. It wasn’t until around season 3 that I started feeling the withdrawals of not being able to watch new episodes. Robert got me hooked as he boasted about watching season 2 during its initial run. No surprise, he was right. It’s an odd bunch of characters to get used to, but once you care about them, it’s hard to let them go, which is why I’m not looking forward to August just as much as I am. With only 8 episodes left in the series, I can’t wait to see what happens to Walter White. I’ve fully enjoyed his descent into darkness as the, yes I’m going to say it, EVIL Heisenberg. During the first 2 seasons, I wasn’t sure I could take him seriously, but major kudos to Vince Gilligan for setting out to sea with a fully operational Titanic and letting us watch it slowly sink into the dark depths of the cold ocean. Walter’s a bad mother . . . and is now absolutely delicious because of it. Unlike AMC’s other shows, BBad never failed when it came to the season finales, each one left its audience demanding more and none of them cried “FOUL!” as a result. Gilligan didn’t keep characters on board just because viewers loved to hate him and he wrapped everything up at a steady pace satisfying all involved. This man should have a veritable potpourri of projects in the works, and if not, Hollywood needs to be bitch-slapped, yo! Even though every episode is currently streaming on Netflix, I’m going to buy this 5th season to add to my collection and I recommend you do too. Looking back, I don’t recall too, too much from the season, but the train robbery remains intact in my head. Such an excellent episode. P.S. there are rumors of a spin-off show featuring the hilarious Saul Goodman. I would definitely tune in for that, but apparently there is an argument for disparaging BBad with a comedy based solely on Saul. What do you think? Would you call Saul or call it quits altogether?
Apparently, today is a good day to die hard, according to Bruce Willis. But then again, when you’re watching John McClane, any day is a good day to die hard. A Good Day to Die Hard marks the fifth entry in the Die Hard franchise and I’m happy to report, it was far and away better than that piece of shit two-hour joke called Live Free or Die Hard. Rating aside, the movie was awful and for a kid who grew up in the 80s and 90s, I much prefer my McClane with a full head of hair. Even today I just can’t seem to get used to his baldness. I know he can’t do much about it, but damn, Bruce, you look like a white 8 ball. A Good Day . . . gets us back to our R-rated comfortableness and thank God for it. Sure there are unbelievable action sequences that leave Bruce little more than a bump on the old bald head, but fortunately he says “fuck” while it happens and to me that makes the movie much more believable – or should I say in-line with the John McClane we all grew up with during the first 3 installments. I won’t be buying this one, but I also wouldn’t scoff at the idea of watching it again either. If you’re a big fan of the franchise then don’t let me sway your decision, because it is kind of fun.
One I did not catch in the theaters, and I’m not sure I even want to see it now, is Identity Thief, starring Jason Bateman and Melissa McCarthy. This one sort of looks like a dud, but then again, I am on an Arrested Development high right now and Bateman probably wouldn’t fail me simply because of that. Not much of an excuse to watch, I know, but McCarthy is pretty damn funny in her own right too, so who knows . . . It is rated R so it’s bound to have some comedy that fits in with my repertoire, I’ll just have to wait until I catch it in a Redbox.
One I’m not looking forward to seeing, but probably will because Robert hasn’t seen it, is Warm Bodies, er, Romeo and Juliet and Zombies. It was a clever idea to put the zombie twist on a romantic classic for all the tweens out there, but call me old fashioned, I prefer my Shakespeare sans zombies. It does have some funny moments and a very nice scene playing Delta Spirit’s Yamaha in the background, but other than those few and far between scenes, I was bored with this one. Maybe I wasn’t sure on which level to absorb it; comedy? horror-comedy? romance? Horror-mance? I don’t know, but I do know critics and audiences alike seemed to enjoy it much more than I did (and more than Pat did for that matter). One of my main gripes with the movie is seeing the hot chick explain to her daddy that the main zombie, Rrrrr, is turning back into a human and she’s starting to fall in love with him because he’s “coming back to life”. Um, What? Even if, EVEN IF, zombie-itus was a real epidemic, would anyone in their right mind fall in love with a dead person who is slowly coming back to life? Wouldn’t the stigma of “he/she was dead once” always be lingering? Imagine the sex . . . he’s on top you and all you can think of is, Remember when his cheek was hanging from his jaw . . . I hope that doesn’t happen now. Hmm, did I just feel his dick detach a little? How am I going to explain to the doctor that my boyfriend’s dead dick is stuck in my vagina? Will my insurance cover it? These are the kinds of things I think about when I’m bored at work. What did you guys think of the movie?
New TiTs: Ghost Brothers of Darkland County, City and Colour, Dave Davies
We finally have some music to report on (seems like it’s been a while), none of which are very mainstream. Some of you may be aware, but for those who are not, Stephen King has officially staked a claim in the music business. After being more than a major player in novels, TV, and Hollywood (no need to retread old King movie grounds), it seemed only a matter of time before King turned his full efforts towards the concert stage. According to Wikipedia, production started on this musical back in 2000, but it wasn’t until 2010, that King’s musical collaborator, John Mellencamp, had this to say (also from Wiki) “T Bone and I and Stephen King are working on a musical. All the music has been recorded. We had Kris Kristofferson, Neko Case, Elvis Costello, Taj Mahal, all singing different characters’ roles. I wrote all the songs, 17 songs. (T Bone) produced. It sounds like the “Sgt. Pepper” of Americana to me. Forget about the play, just the songs, the way these people sing them. I’m sitting there listening to it and thinking, “Did Rosanne Cash just kill that song or what!” The play is called “Ghost Brothers of Darkling [sic] County,” about two brothers who hate each other. If you could imagine Tennessee Williams meets Stephen King. They’re recording the dialogue now and we’re putting out a record of the entire show before it comes out. Right now, Elvis Costello, Meg Ryan, Kris Kristofferson and Matthew McConaughey are doing table readings like an old radio play. So you’ll get all the dialogue, all the sound effects, and all the songs sung by different people so you can follow the story. The CD will come out ahead of time. So many people are involved, it’s taken a long time. But we don’t have to worry about money or record companies – it’s our own money we’re putting into it, so we said, let’s just make something beautiful.” Sounds freaking awesome to me, even if Mellencamp is far from a favorite artist of mine. T Bone is none other than T Bone Burnett who has had his hand in many Americana/Folk album as a producer and performer. He is incredibly awesome at his craft and a true musical genius. If you look him up, I’m willing to bet that he’s been involved in some of your favorite tunes. Again, we have a concept, which you all well know I adore, but include these great American artists and you’ve definitely got me sold. I will definitely be picking this one up, I only hope I can find it (waiting for goods to ship through the mail sucks – I WANT IT NOW).
Next we have Canadian indie artist, City and Colour. I have one of his four albums (the second, Little Hell) and it is enjoyable, though also kind of depressing. You see, he’s got the Bon Iver-ish voice that just drops your good mood into the dumps and never asks if it can help you back up. A much needed kind of voice at times, but also a I-need-to be-in-the-mood kind of voice, which on certain occasions can be the voice most necessary. Granted a downer voice, but the music, at least on Little Hell, isn’t a drag, for the most part its nifty guitar picking and dreamesque backgrounds. I’ll probably end up listening (Spotify) before setting down the money, but I expect some good stuff so I’m kind of excited. Below is a live performance video for “O’Sister”, my favorite track from the Little Hell album. Check it out and let me know what you think/how you feel.
Finally we have a solo album from a member of one of the ultimate greatest bands ever, The Kinks. The album comes from guitarist/singer/songwriter Dave Davies (Ray’s brother). I’m not expecting to find this one anywhere near me, but I am amped to check it out. To get a taste of Dave’s genius, look up “Death of a Clown” by The Kinks, as well as “I’m Not Like Everybody Else”. “Death …” is from the 60s and is a fun, depressing song that I’ve downed many a alcoholic beverage to. Some songs are drinking songs and no more, this is one of them. Hmm . . . did a post just come to mind???? Best Drinking Songs!?!?!?! I may be on to something. I expect the album to sound more along the lines of “I’m Not …” but I could be wrong. I’m anxious to find out. Anywho, that’s all for me this week. I hope you guys have a good one in this fun, summer heat!