I can’t really think of many directors who could possibly get me more excited for one of their releases than Alexander Payne. Maybe it’s a bit strange to get excited for a guy who’s made a career for himself by directing low-key, character-driven drama/comedies, but the guy’s style really works for me. Then on top of that, it’s been seven years since he released his last film Sideways, a gap in which Terrence Malick has released not one, but two films. So after such a long absence, it’s a small wonder seeing how his latest film The Descendants provides us with another small, human story, starring the always dependable George Clooney.
Free as a Bird
Here I am living in a post-Oasis world now with two albums that are kind of like Oasis but still not Oasis. The first release was from Liam Gallagher’s new band Beady Eye (basically Oasis minus Noel) which sucked. Now we have Noel’s solo venture which although much better is still nothing compared to his work with the group that put him on the map. Noel’s new album (recorded primarily by himself) is produced marvelously with some pleasing sounds and moments, but the songs are fairly forgettable. His songwriting seemed in as good as form as ever on the last Oasis album, so maybe he really does need Liam to make it all work?
Most of these songs sound more like Oasis b-sides than anything else which is fine just not particularly exciting. The songs are lush, big, and drenched in reverb with some really beautiful instrumentation but it never amounts to anything notable. There are no big hooks or catchy chorus lines it’s all just a rambling collection of very average progressions. If you were to strip these songs down they wouldn’t even be worth talking about, but Noel’s lucky to have a talented producer like Dave Sardy.
I’d comment on individual tracks if I could separate them in my mind,,”The Death of You and Me” is the only song I can ever clearly remember and it’s nice enough. Looking past the so-so compositions Noel is definitely gifted at creating a mood. Not to get all mushy but he really does put genuine emotion into his songwriting and performance, more so than Liam with Beady Eyes and it shows. Now that this has been released I’m just counting down to the big Oasis reunion. I’m positive that it’ll happen someday, they may hate each other but they are brothers. The only question is how long could it take for a reunion to happen? I for one can wait, give them time to cool off and come back with some better music than what they’ve given us on these two post-Oasis albums.
Favorite Tracks: “The Death of You and Me”, “(I Wanna Live in a Dream in My) Record Machine”
Last year I went and saw Clash of Titans and liked it which probably made me one of five people who actually liked it. I suppose I have a genuine love for Greek Mythology so I get excited simply seeing it attempted on screen, or so I thought. In my original review of Clash I stated that I’d enjoy seeing a different character attempted on screen. My suggestions were either Bellophron or the story of Theseus and look now, it’s a little over a year and what we do have? A movie about Theseus… And it sucks. Why did someone like me who so closely follows reviews go see a panned movie? Once again I have a genuine love for the genre, plus Jon and I made a vow that we’d go see it… No matter what!
Going in I wasn’t very familiar with the story of Theseus aside from him defeating the Minotaur in the labyrinth so I can’t really vouch for how closely this follows the actual myth, though I’ll assume not very. Even reading up on Wikipedia I can see some glaring errors just in how the film handled it’s villain Hyperion (Mickey Rourke). Hyperion is portrayed in the film as a mortal king when in the myths he was a Titan, which means he in no way resembles his mythological counterpart. I could probably find holes like that ’till the hydra comes home but I’ll try and concentrate only on what is presented on screen and not any outside information.
Whovember: Nancy’s Top Ten
Almost totally forgot to do this. Wah-oh. I went through a pretty big Who phase back in the day and definitely consider myself a Who-er on the Who/Zeppelin debate. Not that I ever thought that debate was intelligent. This was fun considering I haven’t really visited my who collection in quite a while.
Whovember: Colin’s Top Ten
I know this is completely coincidental, but this week actually turned out to be a pretty good one to do Whovember, since it marked the release of the Quadrophenia Deluxe Edition reissue, so that’s something. Anyways, The Who are probably my favorite band of all time, so doing a list like this certainly wasn’t easy considering how deep The Who’s discography is in terms of quality. So I kind of just tried not to over think it too much.
Whovember: Sean’s Top Ten
It seems like Zeptember was just the other day, but here we are, in the midst of another theme week. I don’t understand the Led Zeppelin/Who rivalry, or why battle lines where drawn there, but having done this for both bands, I think Zeppelin wins. Narrowly, because while they have more songs I feel strongly about, The Who put out a lot, and a mean a lot, of songs I really like. Plus, you’ve got to admit, they’re the cooler band.
Whovember: John’s Top Ten
I was a late bloomer when it came to listening to The Who. I didn’t become truly interested in the band until high school but when it hit me it hit me hard and now I’m doing this list. I’d heard most of Who’s Next but my first copy, which was burned from somewhere was always messed up so I was always too frustrated to finish it. To this day whenever I hear the songs “This Song is Over” and “Getting in Tune” I just keep waiting for the tracks to start skipping. So my education of The Who primarily came from two other places. The first was the 1979 rockumentary The Kids Are Alright and the second was the massive Who box set I got for christmas The Who: 30 Years of Maximum R&B. No doubt an unorthodox introduction to the band but it gave me a great deal of respect for the group’s entire body of work. From that box set I heard dozens of Who b-sides and rarities that most people probably aren’t familiar with, so I like to think I have fairly good knowledge of the group’s music library, let’s begin.