Reviews

The Pleasures and Punishments of Patience: Kings of Leon’s “Only by the Night”

kolAccording to Rolling Stone Magazine's April cover, Kings of Leon are "America's hottest band" right now. After seeing them live this past Saturday at the Spectrum in Philadelphia, I'd have to agree. Oh, and who does Rolling Stone think they are putting a Rock 'n Roll band, let alone a good band, on their cover? Are people not into The Hills, Britney, or Lindsay Lohan any more? Or worse, do all those people who like that crap like Kings of Leon? Is this good or bad? Shit, I've been known to watch The Hills myself. Am I pop culture puppet whose likes and dislikes are masterfully controlled by the mass media or am I a hip and "with it" guy who uses all the resources that are available to him to decide for himself what is actually worthy art and entertainment? You can't hate on things just because they're popular or you liked them before they got huge. So what if you have to endure 20,000 drunk high school kids and frat boys when you go to see one of your favorite bands? Don't you want them to make money so they can keep making music? Wait a second, this isn't what I wanted to talk about at all. Or is it?

The End of ER

er_wyle.jpgEven though it premiered in the fall of 1994, I didn't start watching ER until the summer of 2000; that was the first time I had what could approximately be called a "real job" and I arrived home every day at 5:35 in the afternoon, changed my clothes and caught the 6 pm rerun on TNT before meeting my friends for dinner and whatever else was

An Oscars Addendum

synechdoceThe Oscars were Sunday night and in honor of all they got wrong, missed, and actually sometimes got right,  here's a list of my favorite movies of the year.  They're listed roughly in order of very favorites on top, but I couldn't quite bring myself to number them.  If you click on a movie's title below, you will be linked to its trailer, for your viewing pleasure.

One asterisk denotes: I cried at the movie
Two asterisks denote: I cried at the movie, but I was really drunk

The Edge of Heaven *
Those who know me will understand that I am going to have a hard time arguing that I am NOT biased in favor of this film – a Turkish-German one – but I will at least point out that it was the eighth most well-reviewed movie of the year (according to Metacritic.com), and it found a considerable American audience during its release.  Director Fatih Akin has made a remarkable name for himself in Europe, but this is his most mature and emotionally deep work by far.  Apparently inspired by tired film clichés involving the interconnected lives of strangers, Akin and his marvelous cast, playing richly developed characters, unravel a haunting story of missed connections, supernatural boundaries, and ghost-like transience.  The original German title – Auf der anderen Seite – more directly translates to ‘on the other side’ and is more fittingly ethereal than the too literal ‘Edge of Heaven’.  Unfortunately, much is lost in the English subtitles, which fail to convey the lucid shifts between German and Turkish sensibilities.

Strong Accusations

douches.jpgThe connection between TV and Internet got a little closer on Sunday night.  I'm not sure if you're aware, but college humor dot com (that's right, no hyperlink, suck it, Ed) was recently given a timeslot by MTV and their show premiered last Sunday night.  Since I was staring at a black hole then, the College Humor Show (that's the actual name) was DVR-ed and I just got to it last night.  In order to dispel any prejudices and biases up front, I want to mention that even though College Humor is technically a competitor and objectively more successful than we are, my take on their pilot is purely critical in nature.

Pop Culture Vortex: Watching the Grammys in my PJ’s

gramaphone.gifI swore to myself (and to my boyfriend) that I wouldn't get sucked into the vortex that is the Grammys Sunday night but, as usual, I did.  For some reason, I thought tuning in for the red carpet event pre-show would be enough to make me opt for the blackhole of Tylenol PM-assisted sleep, but the knowledge that Sir Paul was performing, plus

Strange Justification: David Carr’s The Night of the Gun

nog_coverRating: Like the old photographs that were once painful to glance at, but now, with a little closure, serve as a warm blanket in lonely nights.

 

From Oxford English Dictionary:

document
• noun /dokyoomnt/ a piece of written, printed, or electronic matter that provides information or evidence.
• verb /dokyooment/ record in written or other form.
— ORIGIN Latin documentum ‘lesson, proof’, from docere ‘teach’.
documentary
• adjective 1 consisting of documents and other material providing a factual account. 2 using film, photographs, and sound recordings of real events.
• noun (pl. documentaries) a documentary film or television or radio programme.

Sasha Fierce and the Trivialization of Marriage

sashafierce.jpgAt a time when millions of Americans are fighting for their right to marriage, the makers of popular culture continue to trivialize the institution.

Retrospective Record Review FACE OFF! – Blur “Country House” vs. Oasis “Roll With It” (1995)

gallagher_bros.jpgAs many a recovering Anglophile will recall, the 1995 chart-topping face-off between Blur and Oasis was the media-created rivalry to end all media-created rivalries, with both bands releasing singles on 14 August and setting off “The Battle of Britpop,” easily Britain’s bloodiest battle since Goose Green. A cursory glance around those damn internets reveals that Blur was the victor, with 274,000 copies of “Country House” sold to 216,000 copies of “Roll With It”, but with such subpar offerings from both bands, a teaspoon of hindsight and a small handful of smarts gives one the confidence to say that sans fake rivalry, both of these singles would have been quickly forgotten by a fickle British music-buying public. So let’s hop inside the Retrospective Record Review jalopy and take a ride back to 1995, to take another look at these two monoliths of Britpop and Shitpop, respectively, and declare once and for all – who’s the real winner?

A Thing That Should Have Meaning: Guns N’ Roses’ “Chinese Democracy”

chinese-democracy.jpgA couple of weeks ago I was just casually walking around, minding my own business, trying to live my life.  And I saw plastered all over some scaffolding a poster advertising the upcoming release of "Chinese Democracy," the new Guns N' Roses album that has been seventeen years, multiple lineup changes, and seemingly a mill

Bonding

bond_and_fields.jpgI saw the latest Bond film, Quantum of Solace, last night.  I felt Daniel Craig like it was me on the screen.  Verdict: Bitchin'!

Now before you go hatin' on me for such brazen language, allow me to recount to you over the course of twelve pages the entire plot of the film...

The film begins with short, tight shots of sleek Britis

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