Sunday, November 23, 2008

Zack and Miri make a porno

The new film by Kevin Smith has a title that might scare casual viewers. In some ways that might be a good thing if it keeps the modern Mary Whitehouse brigade out of the cinema but the title is a bit misleading. Zack and Miri make a porno is a modern love story.

The story is about a pair of lifelong friends who are down on their luck. They live together as friends and they are struggling financially. Up to their eyes in debt, without heat or water, they decide to make a pornographic film to earn money.

It sounds like one of those shitty gross-out teen comedy films but the direction of Kevin Smith makes it more than that. There are disgusting moments. Chocolate frosting will never be the same again. However, the heart of the film is tender.

Seth Rogan is great as usual. This is his best film for a while. Elizabeth Banks is much better than she was as Laura Bush in W where she was almost underacting. Jason Mewes is Jay without Silent Bob.

I hope this film makes a lot of money. It's the most enjoyable Kevin Smith film that I've seen for a while. Much better than Clerks 2. Go and see it or wait for the DVD so you can pause bits.

check out

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

TV on the Radio live at the Glasgow ABC

The profile of TV on the Radio has increased a fair bit since the last time I saw them and wrote about them a few years back. They have received a lot of media coverage for new album Dear Science and as a result they are playing larger venues. Their last Glasgow gig was at the intimate ABC2 but this was in the much larger main venue. The show was sold out.

The crowd was a lot younger than before. TVOTR have clearly broken into the student market. The set was energetic and tight although I did feel that they looked slightly uncomfortable on the larger stage. Songs had been drawn from throughout their career and the new material stands up well against the older stuff.

My one criticism of the night was that the sound was not perfect. The vocals are key to the music of TVOTR and at times they were quiet or muddy.

A great band. I hope they continue to put out interesting music and that I get the chance to see them again. My friend who had never heard them before enjoyed the show. That counts as a solid recommendation.

Check them out

Thursday, November 13, 2008

W. - film review

An average film about an average president.

I went to see this because of my general dislike of American foreign policy and the Bush administration over the last few years. I guess that my views are not that unusual.

Oliver Stone likes making big important films about significant American Presidents. It seems somehow fitting that he has made a TV-movie style docu-drama about George W Bush who I feel history will remember as the wrong man in the wrong place at the wrong time.

This isn't a full-on assault on Bush. He is shown in a sympathetuc light. It isn't a great film but it isn't terrible.

Sunday, November 09, 2008

Music I like at the moment

OK - stuff I've been listening to

Fucked up - The Chemistry of common life

This is a hardcore album by a band that I hadn't heard much of before. It's noisy but expansive. As well as loud guitars and screaming we get flute, female backing vocals and melody. Interesting if not groundbreaking.

Deerhunter - Microcastle

This album is intriguing. It's a double CD with the main album Microcastle packaged with a second disc called Weird Era cont. which is essentially a solo album by the main band guy, Bradford Cox. It's dreamy, noisy music; a bit like My Bloody Valentine but more poppy. After a couple of listens it's been on my stereo all the time.

Neither of these CDs will sell a million copies but they might make you smile or punch the air or some shit like that. Check them out

Fucked Up don't do the myspace thing

The end of the Wire

I know I'm a bit slow to get round to it but I've just finished watching the last season of The Wire on DVD.

I've written about The Wire before. If you don't know about it The Wire is an American TV series from the HBO channel. It ran for 5 seasons and it was set in Baltimore. It was about poverty, drug dealers, police, murderers, social injustice, politics, schools, unions and newspapers. That probably doesn't cover it. It's a complex programme and it's worth giving up a week or two of your life to become acquainted with it.

The show is gritty and realistic. Heroes do not exist in the world of The Wire. Interesting characters do. At the end of the last episode I was satisfied. They didn't cheat, they didn't fuck up and they didn't break their rules.

A masterpiece.

The DVDs can be found for under 20 quid. I have a copy of the book Homicide by David Simon (the writer) sitting beside my bed waiting to be read. I can't wait.

Tuesday, November 04, 2008

Shellac live at the Glasgow ABC

Shellac are Steve Albini's fun band. He's done his best to be outside the music industry. His influence is obvious in a lot of modern rock music but throughout his career Albini has done his best to avoid selling out and playing the corporate rock game.

I got into Big Black when I was about 12 after hearing Bad Penny on a mix tape. I remember buying Songs about fucking and hiding the LP so my parents wouldn't find it. I bought the early Shellac singles as they came out and I first saw Shellac when they played the Phoenix festival in Stratford-upon-Avon in 1994. That was one of the best rock shows that I've ever seen.

When I was in Mono records earlier this year and I noticed that tickets were on sale for an unadvertised Shellac show I bought a pair immediately. I then persuaded one of my pals to come along and see them with me.

Sunday night was freezing. My mate smoked a cigarette before we went into the venue. As we stood outside an American couple walked up to us. I was chatting to my friend and I said 'pretty fucking baltic, eh?'. The American couple suddenly looked scared. They clearly weren't used to Scottish dialect. As we walked upped to the concert hall my friend told me that we had been standing next to Todd Trainer, the drummer. My pal had done some interned research.

Support came from Aidan Moffat, ex-singer of Arab Strap. It wasn't the best musical experience of my life but he's a good guy. Funny.

Shellac took to a stripped down stage. They were loud and extremely tight. I would say that they have improved over the past 14 years. I didn't recognise much of the material although we did get personal favorites like Wingwalker, Prayer to God and End of Radio. The band are almost like a comedy troupe at times with fake mistakes and Bob Weston hitting out with quality one liners.

After the show Albini and Weston sold T-shirts from the stage. I bought one from Albini and managed to speak to him in a few seconds of almost total nerdgasm. A look of disdain filled his eyes.

To make up for my nerd overdose I went to Nice n Sleazys and tried to chat up a few random women. I found a couple of attractive doom metal fans from Birmingham. I failed to get any numbers but did use some good moves. My married friend felt guilty just by hanging out with me.

A good night. See Shellac if you ever can. Buy their records.

Sunday, November 02, 2008

Dead Set

Dead Set on E4 has been one of my favourite bits of television in a while. If you haven't seen it, the show is a zombie horror set in the Big Brother house. It's written by Charlie Brooker who previously worked on Nathan Barley and Brass Eye. While there are moments of dark humour this is not a comedy. It's full-on brutal zombie horror. I loved it.

The world is hit by a zombie plague and one of the few safe places is the set of Channel 4's Big Brother TV programme. Big Brother is notorious for starring brain donors who are little different from zombies anyway adding an ironic twist to proceedings. We see Davina McCall being eaten by zombies and many previous housemates meeting similar fates.

The zombies are faster than usual and rather scary. The acting is good. The special effects work.

It's an intense show. I can't wait to get it on DVD to watch it again. Highly recommended.