Although Batman, Superman, and even Spider-Man get a lot of attention, it’s worth noting that Hugh Jackman has now portrayed Wolverine six times on the big screen. Unlike Supes and Spidey, Logan didn’t ask for his powers and unlike Bruce Wayne, he doesn’t necessarily want to vanquish the bad guys. This makes Wolverine one of the more compelling and consistent characters in cinematic superhero history. The Wolverine explores why.
Diablo Cody hit it big a few years ago with Juno and everyone and their mother flocked over to her fan club. I watched Juno and admit I enjoyed it, but it was so filled with pop culture one-liners that it became boring. People said it was fresh and new but to me it was someone just trying way too hard. After that, Cody wrote Jennifer’s Body, which I was a fan of because of the silliness and how the film actually presented itself. Of course, people didn’t like this one and it was easily dismissed by critics. Cody wrote another “hit” called Young Adult which was just OK by me and many others.
Recently a new film called Paradise has surfaced that Cody wrote and directed. This is actually her directorial debut and the project she decided to helm first. First off, let me say this film feels like a total passion project for Diablo Cody. I could be wrong, of course, but Paradise falls flat and is so boring it doesn’t feel right.
Exploitation is a term that isn’t used with newer films, although every so often we get a film that looks like it’s from today but has the throwback feel. Bounty Killer is one of those films. However, Bounty Killer never claims that to be a throwback and that’s what I really enjoyed about it. If you are mainly inspired by older films and want to really hit hard with the audience who loves that type of thing, do not call your film a throwback. It ruins everything.
John Carpenter has blessed us with many great flicks and inspired a limitless amount of people. He continues to do so even today. Still, Carpenter has a few underrated flicks and Body Bags is one of them. The whole film wasn’t directed by The Horror Master himself, but he directed a segment and more importantly, he nailed it as the host of this anthology. Body Bags might not be the best thing ever but it is a blast. (Don’t take me too seriously when I say it may not be the best thing ever; I mean that in a very positive way, actually.) Now, Scream Factory has given us a pristine looking Blu-Ray.
By Paul Casey
Purple Snow: Forecasting The Minneapolis Sound collects music from many musical outfits that helped shape the sound of the title. While the title is a nod to the importance of that miniature-sized and prodigiously talented man, the collection assembled by Numero Group has a broader interest. This is a work of love and commitment. It is a history lesson for those who think great artists are created in a vacuum. Everybody who has sat back and had a sob over the genius of Prince, Jimmy Jam & Terry Lewis, or Alexander O’Neal and assumed they came out fully formed, should have a listen to this compilation.
Sebastien Grainger’s first album post-Death From Above 1979 included a band called The Mountains and established a distinctive musical style far removed from his work with Jesse F. Keeler (review). Five years later, Grainger has something new to offer—this time without The Mountains—and he’s expanded his palette considerably, while still retaining some of what made that first solo debut so compelling.
There’s a lot to be said about the decidedly bizarre time capsule that is Saâda Bonaire. They weren’t so much a band as an experiment, but one that definitely pays off.
In 1982, Bremen DJ Ralf Behrendt, a.k.a. Ralf von Richthofen, embarked on a musical project that he hoped would replicate something akin to the influence Caribbean and Indian music was having on British pop. Behrendt had an exposure to and fascination with Turkish music due to his work in the German government’s immigration department. He enlisted local Turkish and Kurdish musicians, as well as his then-girlfriend Stephanie Lange and her friend Claudia Hossfeld (who both wrote the songs), to create Saâda Bonaire.
Thirteen tracks were recorded for EMI in Kraftwerk’s Studio N with producer Dennis Bovell, including “You Could Be More As You Are” as the intended single. But then, it all hit a snag.
“Happy loving couples make it look so easy/Happy loving couples always talk so kind.”
—Joe Jackson, “Happy Loving Couples”
When Neil Gaiman and Amanda Palmer got together, it seemed to be the perfect pairing, a gentle collision of geek-o-spheres, the kind of thing the word “adorkable” was coined for. Witness the reserved writer and the flamboyant cabaret singer gliding around the world, about three feet off the ground, being fabulous and sweetening up Twitter with their frequent declarations of love for each other.
That’s cool, if you like shit like that.
Some people don’t like to see happy couples. I understand that. I used to be that way. But it takes a lot of work to be bitter all the time. I enjoy that dynamic now, that chemistry. It’s nice to be around people who enjoy being together, not taking caustic pot shots at each other and gleefully wishing for the other’s slow painful death.
The Idelsohn Society For Musical Preservation has an important mission: to look at Jewish history and the Jewish experience through recorded sound. Their motto: History sounds different when you know where to start listening. With their two CD set It’s A Scream How Levine Does The Rhumba: The Latin-Jewish Musical Story 1940s-1980s, they have created an important document that explores the connection between Jewish and Latin music. With vast liner notes, essays, archival photos and ephemera, it is a fascinating compilation.
It’s A Scream How Levine Does The Rhumba is surprisingly varied despite its narrow scope. There are Latin artists doing Jewish songs and Jewish artists embracing Latin beats. There are novelty songs from the early 20th century, disco beats, straight-up funk, and blazing salsa tunes.
As a big disco fan, I’m ashamed to admit that Sylvester is not a name I mention when discussing my favorite tunes of the genre. “You Make Me Feel (Mighty Real)” and “Do You Wanna Funk” are two of Sylvester’s biggest hits and besides being fantastic tracks, have another thing in common. They were both composed and produced by Patrick Cowely.