RIP Aretha Franklin

It’s always hard when you’re on the road when a pop culture figure who was important to you dies. The last time I remember this happening to me was when James Gandolfini died. Though, I suppose it’s easier with a musician. Because it made it pretty easy to decide what I’d be listening to in the car yesterday, even if the occasion was less than ideal. Even if it’s a busy day, you always want to be able to take the time and stop to appreciate the figure in question’s importance and the work they left behind, because Aretha Franklin left a ton of great music behind worth treasuring. Continue reading

Freaky Fridays: Halloween

Halloween (1978)

If you weren’t aware a new Halloween movie is coming out on October 19th. The film is a sequel, or is it a soft reboot? Either way it’s the first Halloween film in nine years. Or as the makers want you to believe, the first in 40 years. What this means is that writer/director David Gordon Green along with his fart-ner (funny?) in crime Danny McBride have penned a direct sequel to the original Halloween. One that erases Halloween’s entire legacy after John Carpenter’s 1978 original.

What I aim to do every Friday from here until the release of this new film is answer the question “Is this a legacy worth remembering?” Which means I will review every installment in the Halloween series (even the Rob Zombie ones). I’ve seen all the films before but I thought it might be fun to revisit the franchise in this format. After all, everyone is entitled to one good scare. That’s a tagline for the original Halloween. Doesn’t really make any sense how I used it.

Continue reading

C.A.T.: Superfuzz Bigmuff

Mudhoney – Superfuzz Bigmuff (1988)

This year has marked not only the 30th anniversary of Sub Pop Records, but also the 30th anniversary of this seminal debut release by one of the label’s signature bands. So it seemed like ample time to talk about Superfuzz Bigmuff, considering the venerable Seattle record label is celebrating it’s anniversary in a big ‘ol free concert in theirs (and my) hometown this weekend, which Mudhoney will be performing at. Now, I know I am kinda fudging the prerequisites of “Classic Album Tuesdays” by writing about an EP. But considering Superfuzz has been re-released multiple times over the years in extended versions that reach album length, it seemed ok. Especially when it seems as good a representation as any of the sludgy, energetic records that Sub Pop first made its name on. Continue reading

Can’t Fight the Friction

Mission: Impossible – Fallout

I was so skeptical of the sixth Mission: Impossible movie that I didn’t put it on my list of most anticipated movies this year, even though I loved the last three dearly. I was influenced by the news stories about it: Christopher McQuarrie bucking the trend of having a new director for each film. Jeremy Renner choosing to be in Avengers 3 over this. Henry Cavill growing the world’s most expensive mustache. We were due for a disappointment, it seemed inevitable. I was wrong: instead we got the best Mission: Impossible yet.

Continue reading

Criterion Month Day 30: Blue is the Warmest Colour

Blue is the Warmest Colour (2013)

Does anyone want to hear what a straight white adult male has to say about Blue is the Warmest Colour? I don’t. Like Persona earlier this month Blue is the Warmest Colour is a movie I wanted to see but didn’t want to write about it because I don’t feel I have anything to offer to the conversation. I can tell you that I liked the film and it was romantic and sexy and funny and sad but not much else. I’ve also been waiting to finish it for five years. Yes, I started watching it in 2013 before giving up forty minutes in. Not because of the film’s content. Because the film is 179 minutes long. Which is funny considering this will be the shortest (and last) review of Criterion Month.

Continue reading

Criterion Month Day 29: Fish Tank

Fish Tank (2009)

Any time we do a month like this, it’s always fun to see the different themes and similarities that connect many of the films, even though with Criterion month, there really isn’t much intention for the films to have anything in common. But one genre that has seemed to crop up quite a bit this year is the coming-of-age film, and in particular ones done by either first time or up-and-coming directors. Fish Tank is another film that falls into both these categories, which firmly established Andrea Arnold as a fresh new voice whose career so far appears to be as unpredictable as this film’s main character. Continue reading

Criterion Month Day 28: George Washington

George Washington (2000)

I dare you to find a director with a weirder body of work than David Gordon Green. Not more diverse or worse, just weirder. Bursting onto the scene in the early ‘00s, Green looked like the heir apparent to Terrence Malick. The southern gothic settings and stoic narration of his early films had all the makings of the next great American auteur. Then Pineapple Express happened. Okay, maybe Green’s just trying to test the market. Make a film that can result in actual box office dollars instead of pinching pennies from arthouse cinemas. Then Your Highness happens. Okay, maybe he had such a fun time he wanted to give it one more go. Then The Sitter happened… He’s dead, Jim. So let’s bypass all the gloom and doom for now and go back to a simpler time. The time of Washington.

Continue reading