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I, like many Americans, traveled back to my hometown for Thanksgiving, and coming back to New York, I can't shake that good old high school feeling.
No, I don't mean that feeling you get watching "Young Adult" (just wait, ladies, you'll see). Emo jump-starters The Promise Ring are getting back together, and Fugazi are finally ready to launch a long-standing project that puts many of their live show recordings and paraphernalia together in one place.
Nicki Minaj dresses down for once in a music video, but it's only to mimic Lil Wayne, in Birdman's "Y U Mad."
Weezy, Nicki and Birdman all show up and trade verses in this new clip, which features Nicki as the self-proclaimed "female Weezy" (in baggy pants, a wife beater and wack braids) and as the Nicki Minaj we're all growing used to -- that is, Nicki Minaj rocking Band-Aid couture.
First, let's start with the positives: Minaj on the hook is perfect. The lyrics are like a dare, a proclamation of war, and just goofing around -- the latter which I wish there was more of in this sometimes-dour clip. Birdman found the right, heightened beat for his drip-drop verses, and Weezy just sticks to being Weezy without any guitar riffs to mess with his froggy sound.
It's nice to see the Cash Money/Young Money crew hanging out around the holidays, but in a way, Minaj is still singled out, ever "the girl." See, to be playing on the same field as the boys, she has to dress like a boy. When she's flexin' with Birdman, she's wearing a ravaged-swimsuit look that the other toy-girls don elsewhere in the clip. Hell, why aren't the boys wearing some Crayola wigs and fetish heels?
Eh, let's not have that much fun. Minaj is still rising, with her "Roman Reloaded" to testify to her sophomore return in February. Wayne's still the face, even if "Carter IV" was kinda crap. The imbalance must remain, even if it shouldn't.
Also, the fade-out is a cop-out.
And, also, Wayne: you're banned from the spark-and-smoke intro. You've reached your quota.
FX has announced its mid-season schedule, with premiere dates for "Justified," "Archer" and the new animated comedy "Unsupervised," created by a trio of "It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia" producers.
The third season of "Justified" will debut Tuesday, January 17 at 10 p.m. Neal McDonough and Mykelti Williamson - both alums of Graham Yost's short-lived NBC cop drama "Boomtown" - will be on hand as two of this season's villains, along with returning stars Timothy Olyphant, Walton Goggins and company.
"Archer" begins its third season two nights later, Thursday, January 19, also at 10 p.m. (And this release will give me the kick in the pants I need to watch the concluding installment of "Heart of Archness" already.) It'll be paired with "Unsupervised," which was created by "Sunny" writers Rob Rosell, Scott Marder and David Hornsby, and has a voice cast including Justin Long, Kristen Bell, Fred Armisen, Romany Malco, Kaitlin Olson and Alexa Vega, along with Rosell and Hornsby themselves. The show is about a pair of teenage best friends, Gary and Joel, trying to do the right thing with no parental supervision.
I'm always interested in the outcome of Sight & Sound magazine's annual critics' poll, since it's perhaps the broadest and most international of its type: its 100 contributors range from their own writers to Peter Bradshaw to Armond White, ensuring a list that's reflective of the year's critical trends. This year, I feel slightly more invested than usual, because for the first time, I was invited to participate.
Every critic was asked to submit a list of their five "best, favorite or most important" films of the year. You'll be able to see mine, along with everyone else's, when Sight & Sound publish the full results of the poll online next week. For now, however, we have the Top 10 (or 11, given a tie at the bottom), and it's a typically credible if not terribly surprising one.
It was pretty much a foregone conclusion that Terrence Malick's "The Tree of Life" would top the list: divisive it may be, but the film remains unrivalled as the critical talking point of 2011. It won the poll by a comfortable margin: editor Nick James reveals that it had half as many votes again as the similarly predictable runner-up, Asghar Farhadi's "A Separation." Check out the full list below.
When you hear Bon Iver's song "Hinnom, TX," do you think of a sun-fueled hazy drive in the car as you roll right through that enormous state?
If so then, boy, do we have a video for you.
Isaac Gale and David Jensen directed the clip below as part of the larger video project from the soft-rockin' songwriter. As previously reported, there are 10 videos getting lined up for the 10 songs on the self-titled album, set for re-release as a digital deluxe edition tomorrow (Nov. 29); the vids are to be "consumed as a visual extension of the music, to enhance each listener's experience," reads a statement.
These aren't "official music videos" in the traditional sense, so perhaps that's why it's OK if you find this little orange-dappled stroll kinda boring. It's not like Bon Iver's songs are the audio equivalent of "Immortals" or anything.
I'd been dimly aware of the re-appropriation of the sinister Guy Fawkes mask from Alan Moore and David Lloyd's "V for Vendetta" graphic novel -- and, of course, its Wachowski-branded 2006 film adaptation -- as a symbol of protest by present-day political and environmental demonstrators. I have only recently begun noticing it in the real world, however.
As the Occupy movement took shape -- in the past few weeks, chiming in neatly with Guy Fawkes Day (November 5) three weeks ago, I've spotted that leeringly stylized visage stencilled on more than a few walls in London, including one on my own block. It was in front of this one that I heard the following dry exchange between two skinny-jeaned students that put things, I felt, nicely in perspective:
"Isn't that from the film where Natalie Portman shaved her head?"
"Yeah, protesters are using it to make a point."
"Huh. It was a rubbish film, but I wouldn't bother protesting about it."
Firewall & Iceberg Podcast, episode 104: 'I Hate My Teenage Daughter,' 'The Exes,' 'The Walking Dead' & more
There are weeks on the Firewall & Iceberg Podcast where Dan and I get to discuss one show after enough that excited us, made us laugh, made us cry, and/or validated our career choices. Then there are weeks like this one, where the best compliment we can give any of the new shows we're reviewing is to refer to its "proficient mediocrity." Oh, well. On the plus side, we finally get around to discussing the "Arrested Development" resurrection, and we once again stray outside our area of expertise by discussing the NL MVP winner, Tim Tebow and the end of the NBA lock-out. Why not?
I probably use the phrase "take a deep breath" to signal a pause before an awards frame plunge a bit too often this time of year, but the fact is this afternoon really is your last chance to breathe in some (somewhat) unsullied air before the precursor circuit really starts to mold this season into something resembling what it will be in three months' time.
Today, the New York Film Critics Circle will be screening David FIncher's "The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo." Today was the group's original date for voting on its year-end superlatives (already noted as asinine in its early nature), but due to the fact that this film had a ready-by date that was immovable (and it still has color timing to be completed, but is nevertheless in a shape in which Fincher is comfortable screening it), they decided to move the date one day. No one asked them to do it, but they did.
The issue with "Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close" was different. It really isn't ready and wouldn't be before December 2. So, NYFCC president John Anderson publicly and other members privately cast doubts on the film's quality as a result. I'll let you be the judge of that professionalism.
I mentioned my thoughts on Cameron Crowe's "We Bought a Zoo" in this morning's round-up. To elaborate a bit, the film has problems. But I don't know if "problems" is the word, because there's no denying that the film works. It's just heavy-handed in a way that doesn't feel organic to the material (unlike the heavy-handedness of, say, "War Horse").
Nevertheless, I have zero desire to dismantle it because its heart is in the right place. It mines legitimate emotion in a number of areas and, knowing what Crowe has been through in his personal life as of late (divorcing his wife of many years, Nancy Wilson), you can see him working through some things with this material. And much of it rings true. It's an uptick from "Elizabethtown," no doubt, and I think he'll find his stride again very soon and before long, we'll have another top-notch Crowe film on our hands.
One thing that stuck out in "We Bought a Zoo," though, was the soundtrack. Of course, it would.
Ken Russell is dead.
And while I consider Ken Russell a giant, a genuine force to be reckoned with, a man who left a giant shit-smeared mark across the face of cinema like a moustache added to the Mona Lisa, I confess I haven't seen one thing he made in the 20 years since his film "Whore" was released.
That's crazy. According to the IMDb, he's directed 19 things since then. I knew he contributed to "Trapped Ashes," an anthology film that I still haven't seen, but I didn't see it. And I've never heard of the other 18 projects. He was just off my radar.
Again… that's crazy. But if you're looking to sum up the cinematic output of one Henry Kenneth Alfred Russell, the word "crazy" is probably a great place to start. His was a long sustained and beautiful madness that played out in a wildly uneven filmography, where his highs were as high as anyone's who worked in the British pop '60s and the international art house '70s, and where his lows were as low as anyone working in the Golan/Globus exploitation mills of the '80s. He clashed famously with actors, directors, censors, rock stars and most other life forms at one point or another.