Monthly Archives: February 2010

Exile on Main St. Re-Issue

This has me super excited.  Album that got really got me into the Stones (though I do prefer Let it Bleed song for song).  Interested to see the bonus tracks.  Not sure whether I’ll get the DVD though.

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Clash of the Titans

I saw the trailer for Clash of the Titans while watching the Olympics last night.  Damn does it look bad.  I was rooting for this one actually.  I’m a big fan of Greek Mythology and I know there’s a whole bunch of liberties taken with the story of Perseus  here, but this looks awful.  After a second view at the trailor, I’m feeling the same way I do about Pirates of the Caribbean – make it super campy, or super violent.  (Like 300).   But you can’t have campy and dark together – it just doesn’t work.  

Also, Liam Neeson does not make a believable Zeus.  I’m interested to see how Ralph Fiennes plays Hades since we all know he does bad-ass so well as Voldemort.  

I’ll probably go see.  Might be the funniest movie I’ve seen Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen.

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Astral Weeks In NYC Part II

Astral Weeks wasn’t the  only highlight of the weekend in NYC.  I also got to meet one of my heroes:

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Astral Weeks Live in NYC – A Year Later

 

 


This weekend last year, I was fortunate enough to see Van Morrison perform Astral Weeks in its entirety.   I can’t even begin to explain how much this album means to me.   Even though Dylan is my favorite artist, I’ve probably listened to Astral Weeks more than any other album.  If Impressionism were put to music, Astral Weeks would be the soundtrack.  Unlike a lot of other albums which seem to fit a certain mood, Astral Weeks absorbs the feeling that you have at the time.  While the theme of the album is about looking back, Morrison created an album that has yet to be equaled in beauty by anyone.  The centerpiece of the album, Madame George (which may or may not be about a drag queen) is a swirling piece of music that sucks you in and never lets go even after repeated listens.  Everytime I listen to the song, I feel I’ve known Madame George and have to dry my eye and say goodbye along with Morrison.

When I first heard about the show, the thought that I would be able to go seemed out of the question.  This was a special show, and getting a ticket would be impossible.  Even having three people try to buy tickets at once seemed like a lost cause.  I managed to get through and get tickets because I exceeded my normal price for tickets.  “Fuck it, I’m going,” I thought.  And my friend, his girlfriend and I did.  

Without a doubt, the show was the best musical performance I’ve seen.  The first half  of the concert contained well known Van Morrison songs and he seemed happy to be there, but he tore through them like his mind was on something else. But by the time we got to Astral Weeks, it was easy to see why.   Performing an album like this must be emotionally draining.  This was no nostalgia act.  Some people complain when artists don’t talk, but Morrison is a professional. Stage banter would have taken away the beauty of such songs as “Sweet Thing” and “Ballerina”.  

The track list was tinkered with, and arrangements were changed a bit, but it was still Astral Weeks.  It retained the free-jazz spirit of the original album and Morrison’s voice still sounded as great as it always has.  When “Madame George” and Morrison sang “say goodbye to Madame George” – it wasn’t just the draq queen we were saying goodbye to.  We were saying goodbye to the idea that an album could mean this much to people and that music of this caliber is also gone as well.  

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It Might Get Loud

Not the biggest Led Zeppelin fan or Jimmy Page fan, but might have to check out this movie.

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Olympic Musings

So far, I’ve enjoyed watching the Winter Olympics this year.  I feel as if it’s a warm up for the World Cup later in the summer, which I am already pumped at thought of.   It’s great the summer and the winter Olympics alternate but the unfortunate side effect is that viewers have to see Bob Costas nightly every two years instead of every four.  

Since this year the Olympics are in Vancouver, we’re treated to mini documentaries about what life in Canada is really like.  For instance, did you know there are Polar Bears in Canada?  Thank God NBC taught us that.  I can see a Polar Bear at the Baltimore Zoo.  When you devote only four hours of competition nightly, why is there a segment devoted to Polar Bears?  While I’m being obnoxious I’ll also go on the record and state that Julia Mancuso seems like a brat.  When Lindsey Vonn fell yesterday during one of her runs, Mancuso  was waved off to avoid running into her teammate.  Later  she was seen crying at the bottom of the hill.  And on top of that she wears a tiara?  Seriously?  

The great thing about the Olympics is that during an economic crisis, wars world-wide for 16 days, the world can get together and watch the best athletes come together and represent their countries.  Unlike music and literature (which I will argue is actually more inspiring but that’s another issue) there’s no question about who is the best.  It’s not a question of taste.  Everyone can look at Shaun White, Lindsey Vonn or Apolo Ohno and say, “Those guys are fucking great at what they do.”

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Shutter Island

I saw Shutter Island yesterday and quite impressed.  It is definitely a great movie, but an underwhelming Scorsese picture.  That being said, I will take a sub-par Scorcese movie over any other any day.  For me, the ending was kind of predictable.  That’s not a criticism however.  Unlike a lot of other movies which depends so much on the revelation at the end, Shutter Island benefits from its predictable.  It’s not so much about the actual finale, but the cause – and the effect is truly gut-wrenching.  

Much has been said lately about DiCaprio and Scorsese’s relationship.  These two totally need to make more movies together.  This might be the finest performance that DiCaprio has given Scorsese – and he’s given two other fantastic ones (Gangs of New York and The Departed).  In Shutter Island, DiCaprio’s Tenny Daniels is pushed to the brink but he also pushes back at the doctors with such intensity that the institutions top doctor insists that it just, “a defense mechanism”.  

Much of the plot of the movie revolves around flashbacks when Teddy served in World War II.  As a liberator of a concentration camp, the horror he saw constantly haunts him.  But it’s also the present that haunts him as he begins to find out the the patients on the island are being experimented on just as the Nazis did in World War II.  

Shutter Island could only have taken place in early 50’s America.  Teddy’s own paranoia about what is really taking place on the island, perfectly suits the fear of Communism that was taking over the US at the time.  The experiments that the doctors are pulling on the patients is very much akin to the Eugenics experiments that the Nazis tried.  (Check out Edwin Black’s War Against The Weak for further information on this subject.  I highly recommend it.)

Ultimately, Shutter Island fails as a Scorsese classic, because Teddy is too caught up in his quest to figure out what is taking place on the island to be relatable and memorable.  I never found myself having sympathy for him like I did with Henry Hill, Travis Bickle, or Bill the Butcher.  However, the movie is still terrifying in ways that only Scorsese could pull off.

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