Categories
Watching

The Getaway

I’m sor­ry, but a Sam Peck­in­pah film with a hap­py end­ing is hard­ly a Sam Peck­in­pah film.

Categories
Watching

Mariah Carey in Atlantic City

It’s been almost two years since I went up to New York for Mari­ah’s Com­cast com­mer­cial shoot. Back then I was pret­ty opti­mistic about the direc­tion her career was head­ed. It’s been pret­ty amaz­ing to watch the bal­loon deflate.

I man­aged to get tick­ets to her recent Atlantic City show at the Bor­ga­ta. The seats were amaz­ing. The per­for­mance? Not so much. I think Helen summed it up best when she said her per­for­mance was more Atlantic City than it was Vegas, that it was more kitschy than cool. I’d say that was spot on.

After I read Jon Cara­man­i­ca’s ter­rif­ic review, I was look­ing for­ward to final­ly see­ing her per­form. Man, was I ever dis­ap­point­ed. It was a bru­tal com­bi­na­tion of bad sound, bad dancers, and an over­all lack of enthu­si­asm from Mari­ah, who seemed to just go through the motions. The back­up singers (and back­ing track) were so loud I often could­n’t tell when she was singing and I feared that might have been done inten­tion­al­ly. Over­all, it was just a lack­lus­ter per­for­mance by one of the few remain­ing super­stars in music.

Categories
Watching

Anvil! The Story of Anvil

I know I’m late to the par­ty, but what a fun doc­u­men­tary! I wish I could catch their show at the TLA next week­end.

Anvil! The Sto­ry of Anvil remind­ed me a bit of Amer­i­can Splen­dor, except Har­vey Pekar’s ten­den­cy to accen­tu­ate the neg­a­tive aspects of pub­lic­i­ty are 180 degrees out of phase with Lips’ out­look. Who knows how far they’ll take it, but it’s great to see that they’re cap­i­tal­iz­ing on the film’s suc­cess and get­ting out on the road. It should be a great show!

Categories
Watching

The Exiles

Kent MacKen­zie’s film The Exiles is like watch­ing Ger­many Year Zero set in L.A. The film tells the sto­ry of a hand­ful of Native Amer­i­cans who’ve moved to Los Ange­les. Like Charles Bur­net­t’s Killer of Sheep, also released by Mile­stone Films, it shows anoth­er Los Ange­les, stripped of the glitz and glam­or.

Think Cas­savetes’ Shad­ows star­ring a cast of Native Amer­i­cans who are strug­gling to find a way to fit into a soci­ety that’s locked them out. This isn’t a bunch of beat­niks who feel them­selves apart from the main­stream; this is a film about peo­ple who live par­al­lel lives.

It’s amaz­ing to see movies from this peri­od shot in a neo­re­al­ist style. Not only do you get a great sense of the char­ac­ters in con­text, you get to see the city as it is. The streetscapes are as grit­ty as any­thing in a Hol­ly­wood noir. It’s an amaz­ing glimpse into a world almost com­plete­ly ignored in film. Def­i­nite­ly worth check­ing out.

Categories
Watching

Food Inc.

Want a sure­fire way to bum your­self out on New Year’s Eve? Watch Food Inc.

I’ve scaled back the num­ber of mind-numb­ing­ly depress­ing doc­u­men­taries I’ve watched in the past few years. Too many of them tread the same ter­ri­to­ry, preach to the choir, and fall far short of inform­ing the broad­er pub­lic of the issues at hand. Food Inc. isn’t one of them.

This is a great doc­u­men­tary for any­one who wants to get a basic under­stand­ing of what’s hap­pen­ing in Amer­i­can food pol­i­cy. Let me put it this way: if Upton Sin­clair would­n’t have words to describe the state of the food indus­try. It’s that bad. I def­i­nite­ly rec­om­mend this flick. It’ll make you think twice about how and what you eat.