Some labels are best left in the closet

[There's more to Are You Gene Hackman than just the macho, testosterone-and-steroids postings that you're used to enjoying on these pages. Accordingly, here's a review of the new Sex and the City film that just opened and is sweeping the world. Of course, I'd sooner chew off my own knuckles than sit through it, so we have a guest reviewer - Lauren Gibaldi. Thanks for the review! Lapalco!]

As someone who owns every season of Sex and the City and repeat facts and trivia details as if they were a grocery list to be read off, I was actually quite tentative when I heard that they were making a film version of the popular TV show. Excited, sure, but how could they ever top the last episode?

The show ended with all four girls fabulously happy. Samantha found a man who wanted her for love, not sex. Charlotte and Harry were approved to adopt a baby from China. Miranda was happily settled in Brooklyn with Steve and Brady. And Carrie and Big were together...for the fifth or so time. Everyone was content.

The movie starts with the women five years later. Charlotte and Miranda are busy being good parents and wives, Samatha is busy being Smith Jarrod's manager, and Carrie is busy with her fourth book and Big. Admittedly, it's exciting at first, seeing the four of them together again. It's like they're old friends you haven't seen in years, everything is familiar and fun. It's just like old times.

The movie takes a serious turn early on which sets the mood for the rest of the film. Without giving away too much, considering all of this was hinted towards during the preview, there might be a wedding, might be infidelity, and might be a pregnancy. And that all might be within the first half.

There were some quips and jokes that were quite hilarious. Charlotte becomes the comedic relief and it suits her character well. On the opposite end, Miranda's sullied attitude makes her character very unlikable. Ultimately, they leave her and the rest of the girls out of the film a lot, exchanging it all to focus more on Carrie's story. The strong cast of husbands and boyfriends, Steve, Harry, and Smith, barely have screen time. That's one thing I wish they concentrated more on--the lives of the other girls.

They added in a new character, Louise from St. Louis, who becomes Carrie's assistant and friend. Although I really enjoyed her character and what she added to the film, I felt it was very out of place. What I loved about the TV show was that whenever one of the girls had a problem, no matter how big (no pun intended) or small, the others were there for them. It seemed like at times Louise was Carrie's inspiration which almost felt like she was cheating on her friends.

Truth be told, the film was enjoyable but I far from loved it. My original worries proved right, as I definitely prefer the ending of the TV series to that of the film's. It lacked the same feel that the TV show had that originally made me fall in love with it. In complete honesty, the film was daunting and depressing at times. Although you are given a decently happy ending, you're still left feeling nothing. We're so connected to these four women that when they're going through troubles, we are as well. And, truthfully, on my night off, I don't want to go through any more troubles.

The film addresses the age old question of will we ever find true love, and if we do, will it last. It's a question every woman asks herself at one time and, sadly, the film doesn't give us much advice nor insight other than to keep trying and have faith. I guess that's what the film teaches you. As cheesy as it sounds, they want you to believe that sometimes love does conquer all, even if you have to work for it. And if you have friends to share that message with? Well, that's just fabulous.

Hip Hop is Art

If your only exposure to Dan le Sac vs Scroobius Pip is their epic manifesto-slash-single 'Thou Shalt Always Kill' from last year, you're missing out, son. The duo's follow up single, 'The Beat That My Heart Skipped' was also ace, and gains bonus cool points for sharing a title with a great French film. Their new album 'Angles' is well worth a listen. 'Tommy C' is about legendary comedian Tommy Cooper and bemoans the way a lot of modern pop music focuses on beauty in a way that is banal and useless. (If you don't know about Tommy, read the wiki - it's an interesting story). Elsewhere, Pip's Essex flow recites the periodic table, updates Eminem's 'Without Me', and offers a treatise on the state of hip hop in the United Kingdom in 2008 over a very familiar beat. (Spoiler: he doesn't think it's very good). Behind the laptop, meanwhile, Dan le Sac severely fucks with Radiohead's 'Planet Telex' on the ace 'Letter From God to Man', and the band have their own slow jam with the new single 'Look for the Woman'. They have a lot of ideas, and sometimes I wished for another voice to supplement Pip's, but for the most part, 'Angles' is a solid record with something to say that you should listen to. Today!

[download Dan le Sac vs Scroobius Pip - Fixed]

[dan le sac vs sroobius pip myspace / official site]

New Primal Scream - Can't Go Back


For the Scream Team's pendulum has returned to the "spazzing out and making you dance like a mental" side of things. Their last album might have been an ok collection of pub-rockers but this really is more like it. 'Beautiful Future' is out in July and will hopefully sound, like its taster single, as if a thousand rockets are in a race to explode first. It really has the frenetic energy of 'Accelerator' or 'Skull X' or a banshee.

[download Primal Scream - Can't Go Back (radio rip)]

Did the best man win?

There isn't really any reason for the film 'Recount,' about the fallout in Florida after the 2000 Presidential election, to exist. It might've been pretty interesting as a documentary, but Michael Moore covered the subject matter rather well in the first ten minutes of Fahrenheit 9/11. Of course, everyone knows how it'll turn out, so it's a bit heavy when they try and make it suspenseful.

Oh no! Gore's about to concede! But there's new information that all isn't right in Florida! Quick! Someone stop him! It's the guy with the limp who has to rush to stop him! Will he make it! He fell over! Quick! Get up!

This story doesn't really translate too well as a drama. It's a story of motions, stays, appeals, statutes, judges - and even as a law student, I found all that language boring. In one cab ride, two of the lawyers use sentences like "It's Kennedy who'll be the hardest to win over", this can't be interesting to anyone can it?

This isn't a story about people or their interactions. Kevin Spacey's turn as Gore's campaign head Ron Klain is the closest we have to some sort of dramatic back-story, and so that's played up. Acting-wise, everyone's okay. Denis Leary sort of plays himself. Laura Dern is terrific as Katherine Harris, treading the line between evil incarnate and batshit insanity. It's nice to see Tom Wilkinson and Bob Balaban work together again after the monstrosity that was 'Dedication'.

Ultimately, I suppose the film was alright - it plodded along competently. It was nice to see my old hometown, Tallahassee featured prominently; and my friend Tim got a gig as a set assistant, so fair play to him. But I just felt like it was an unnecessary exercise.

The midget's the baby's daddy.

You know that saying "Words fail me"? When something is just so stupid/brazen/incredible that nothing additional really needs to be said? Here's an example: when I was in school, my friend Tom took a class not unlike your American "Shop" class, and his work was so bad that the teacher's only grade was the comment "Words fail me." When Tom eventually passed the class with a respectable B, he photocopied the teacher's comments and put them up around the school.

There's a couple of those "words fail me" instances in the R. Kelly trial, which is currently underway in Chicago.

Firstly, from the jury selection:

When the judge asked one prospective juror about his feelings regarding Kelly, he cryptically answered: "R. Kelly may have led the Taliban in attacking us on 9-11, but you can't prove it."
Next, and this one takes the prize for word-failage, "Midget" referred to in court, as Kelly trial takes a turn towards "Trapped in the Closet" plot. That is the title of the article.

I'm going to sleep. The world is broken.

Look! There is a cow!

It's rare that I get a lot of work done in one night, but for once, today I have the time to write all the things I've been meaning to for a while. Having said that, the "Open Letter to the girl in the top-left of the picture at Hillary Clinton's victory speech in West Virginia" that I was planning is probably old hat by now, so you'll just have to guess what that would have entailed.

Anyway. Last week I managed to catch 'The Cesc Fabregas Show' - a bad idea poorly executed. I don't know if you've seen the clip of him staying cool, but it's pretty awesome, unlike the rest of this elaborate and unnecessary 'This Is Your Life' style tribute. The hosts were two comedians I'd never heard of, who weren't very funny. One of them called Mrs. Fabregas a "yummy mummy" in front of Cesc, which just seemed tasteless. There was one pretty funny sketch with Matt Lucas, and one terrible one from Paul Kaye. Cesc kept his cool throughout, though, and looked like he was taking it in good grace, despite the people coming to big him up. I mean, there was nobody more charismatic than Big Phil Senderos, Bendtner, and Paul Merson? (Arsene Wenger and living legend Mickey Thomas get free passes). Maybe it was better to actually be there - Goodplaya was, and he enjoyed himself.

In other news, I don't have much to say about last night's Champions League final. It's a pity that both teams couldn't lose, but it was a good match to watch as a neutral. It's also a pity that Ashley Cole didn't get hit by a bus. Also, congratulations to Celtic on another SPL victory tonight.That Rangers/Celtic match with the handball on the line and the Nakamura screamer and the injury time winner and the big fight at the end is probably my match of the season.

Who should I cheer for in Euro 2008?

We want punks in the palace

A Silver Mt. Zion don't fuck around. They put out a new album like two months ago. I didn't write about it at the time, but I did post a live track from it. The thing is, '13 Blues for Thirteen Moons' is only (really) four tracks long, and only the incredible, euphoric closer 'BlindBlindBlind' really hits me in the gut and makes me want to cry and thank some almighty being that I'm alive, lying in a ball screaming 'some! hearts! are! true!' until my synapses burst and I need some orange juice...

Sorry, for a minute there I lost myself.

Anyway, ASMZ are on tour now, as bands with new albums are wont to do. AND THEY ALREADY HAVE TWO BRAND NEW SONGS. This may not sound too extraordinary, but don't forget that the last album only had four songs on it. One of the new songs is called 'There's a Light', and the other 'Metal Bird' has about thirty-two segments, including one with the refrain "Dense motherfucker!" (it may be dance). Check out a boot of their Montreal show at the Live Music Archive and then join me in mourning that they don't play 'God Bless Our Dead Marines' any more.

[download A Silver Mt. Zion - Metal Bird (live)]

Girls on Bikes

Listening to 'It's Been Great', from Alan Wilkis' new album 'Babies Dream Big', I thought of the 1980s, when fashion was terrible, Indiana Jones movies were cool (more on which in a later post, I'm sure) and Prince was a badass. 'It's Been Great' sounds like Prince, with heavy bass, sassy vocals, and a general laid-back vibe that lasts throughout the record. 'Astronaut' comes off as a more sun-dried Caribou but with appropriately spaced-out sounding noises, possibly approved by NASA. The album has some moments of funk, and not always the fun side of funk, but those are few and far between. I thought of Jamie Lidell a lidell bit (where's when you need it?), with the combination of electronics, falsetto and, in someone else's words "the music to a 1970s porn video". The summer is coming - grab an ice cream cone and give this guy a listen.

Also, check out Alan and dozens of others in the Neon Coyote Summer Mix 08, by going here. Those of us waiting for the union of Britney Spears, Underworld, Lil Wayne and Born Ruffians can sleep easy at last!

[download Alan Wilkis - It's Been Great]

[Alan Wilkis myspace]

Go Rushie, Go Rushie Go!

Here are some things from this internet which you may enjoy.

  • There was a Simpsons episode recently that featured Jim Jarmusch. Wait, what? It was pretty funny, actually, and you can watch it here, or if the embed works, here.
  • If you're like me and you prefer to read the book before the film comes out and then be irritatingly self-righteous about how inferior the film was (cf The Namesake, Slumberparty Massacre 2), then you may be interested in this. One of the Christmas period's big films this year will be 'The Curious Case of Benjamin Button', directed by David Fincher, and therefore probably dark, sick and twisted. I can't wait. It's based on a short story by F. Scott Fitzgerald, which you can have read to you like a six year old, by clicking here. The audiobook is just over an hour long and it's an enjoyable little yarn. Also, it's free.
  • The new album by Elbow is ace, but you knew that already. Now, hear most of it live.
  • It's the FA Cup Final tomorrow, and I hope that Cardiff City win because of this. Helpfully, DiS has come up with a list of ten other memorable football songs. Memorable is another word for embarrassing, right? Check it now! (Spoiler alert: they left out 'Pass and Move it's the Liverpool Groove', the bastids)
  • If you've seen 'Forgetting Sarah Marshall' and you're American, you may be wondering about Russell Brand. He writes a column for the Guardian, hosts a radio show, went to rehab for sex addiction, and his stand-up is great. Here's a sample, about when he met FSM co-star Mila Kunis' boyfriend.
[download Russell Brand - Macauley Culkin]

Much ado about [ingenting]

Sure, Sweden has given us some great bands over the years, including the Wannadies, the Concretes, Peter Bjorn and John, Abba, the Soundtrack of Our Lives, Bon Jovi and Led Zepellin. But did you know that in that country, they also speak a language called Swedish? And that there are bands that sing only in that language. Fluxblog posted a song by Veronica Maggio yesterday, and that made me think, "Hey, I've been listening to [ingenting] a lot lately, and haven't got around to writing about them, so here's an excuse."

Those square brackets are very important - apparently just plain ol' Ingenting are a black metal band from neighbouring Norway. Very different. I first got turned onto [ingenting] when some music blog said they sounded like "Sigur Ros meets the Strokes". They don't. But the two albums of theirs that I have are ace. For all I know they're singing "You're a fucking moron and your beliefs and values are all dumb and you have crap hair and everyone thinks you're pretentious" but I still dig. Here are two songs from their latest record, 2006's 'Mycket väsen för ingenting'. 'Hollywood Dreams' is pure summer fun, and the other song, 'Punkdrömmar' sounds like Bloc Party or something. But, of course, in Swedish. There's a frustrating lack of info about the band on this internet, but you can listen to them over at, so I suggest you do that.

[download [ingenting] - hollywood dreams]
[download [ingenting] - punkdrömmar]

[ingenting] myspace

Go 'head switch the style up

Glow in the Dark Tour: Kanye West, Rihanna, N*E*R*D, Lupe Fiasco
Tampa Ford Amphitheater
May 5, 2008

First things first.

A bumped-up start time does no favours for Lupe Fiasco, who is on at 6pm and playing to a quarter-filled enormodome. He gives it all he's got, but cutting off the track to let the audience sing choruses doesn't really work in this situation. Still, 'Kick Push', 'Go Go Gadget Flow' and 'I Gotcha' are all stone-cold stormers, and by the time he rounds out with 'Superstar' and 'Daydreamin', everyone's on his side.

Has it really been four years since 'Fly or Die'? Even an appearance from the Madden Brothers couldn't make that album not enjoyable. Now N*E*R*D have a third album due sometime soon, and Pharrell is still wearing the American flag. There are some new songs - one of which is called 'Spaz' - a crowd-surge, and 'Lapdance'. Also, there are two drummers and - ugh - a drum off. The set was tight, the new songs sounded pretty good, 'She Wants to Move' was great, but overall I didn't think they were more than 'pretty good'.

I admit it. I don't own any Rihanna albums. But I wish I did, because her short set - seven or eight songs, one costume change - was really good. No 'Shut Up and Drive', alas, but the rest of the hits. Finished with 'Umbrella', maybe you've heard that one before.

Kanye West made my hands glow. Seriously, at one point my glowstick exploded and my right hand was covered in shiny yellow glowstick juice, which though cool-looking was probably quite toxic, so I had to run to the bathrooms, thereby missing 'All Falls Down'. Straight up, this man is Mr. Main Event (sorry, this guy). Dude puts on a SHOW. With video screens, a talking spaceship, a narrative (!), pyro, a pseudo-cover of 'Don't Stop Believin', did I mention that the talking spaceship flirts with Kanye, some weird lady-things from Jim Henson's studios, a gold belly dancer, this was not just seeing some band play in a smoky bar. Also, he played some songs.

It's been a long time since I've been to a big-scale, outdoors show. I elected to see Kanye instead of Radiohead at the same venue the following night (couldn't afford to go to both). I'm glad I made the choice I did - nothing against Radiohead, but I've seen them before, and doubt they'd have had me dancing like a twat for ninety-five minutes. Somebody give this man a medal.

Good Morning / I Wonder / Heard 'Em Say / Through the Wire / Champion / Get 'Em High / Diamonds from Sierra Leone / Can't Tell Me Nothing / Flashing Lights / Spaceship / All Falls Down / Gold Digger / Good Life / Jesus Walks / Hey Mama / Don’t Stop Believin’ / Stronger / Homecoming / Touch the Sky

[download Kanye West - Champion (live on SNL)]
[download Kanye West - Everything I Am/Freestyle (live on SNL)]

[Kanye West myspace / official]
[Rihanna myspace / official]
[N*E*R*D myspace / official]
[Lupe Fiasco myspace / official]

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