Over the past few months, Ontario has seen a flood of live shows from great bands out of Glasgow Scotland, including Glasvegas, The Twilight Sad, and We Were Promised Jetpacks. On Thursday night at a surprisingly quiet Phoenix Theatre, Camera Obscura added their name to the list. Opening for the band was San Francisco’s Papercuts who despite appearing painfully nervous and awkward on stage (front man Jason Quever dropped his guitar pick mid play and later got his guitar tangled in the microphone cord) played a short but impressive set. Their dreamy-pop guitars and keyboards nicely complimented Camera Obscura’s moody sounds. By the time Camera Obscura stepped on stage the room had filled in somewhat. The group played a variety of fan favorites, including “I Don’t Want to See You Anymore,” “Lloyd I’m Ready to Be Heartbroken,” “If Looks Could Kill,” and “French Navy.” Singing effortlessly, Tracyanne Campbell’s voice contained an underlying melancholy that lent authenticity to the lyrics. Her band mates Carey Lander, Kenny McKeeve, Gavin Dunbar and Lee Thomson were equally musically solid, but the overall stage presence of the band left much to be desired—a trait that seems to be common amongst even the most talented Glasgow acts. This utter lack of stage dynamic made seeing them live no different from listening to their albums played really loud. The evening ended with encore performances of “Let’s Get Out Off This Country,” “Forest And Sands,” and the highlight finale “Razzle Dazzle Rose.” Despite the showy name, I left feeling underwhelmed.
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As this new cut provides yet another excuse to revisit the film, one thing becomes clear on multiple viewings - Watchmen is a solid work of cinematic art. Forgive Snyder all his slo-mo flash and motion picture panache: this is a movie that works on all the levels it’s supposed to and on several it only hoped to achieve. We marvel at the acting - especially Patrick Wilson as Drieberg, Jackie Earle Haley as Rorschach, and Billy Crudup doing his damnedest to emote from within Dr. Manhattan’s motion-capture CG mannerisms. In between there are effective turns by sensational supplemental players, as well as enough violence and archetypical action to satiate the confirmed comic book genre fan. But Watchmen has always been about more than just heroes fighting fate. Indeed, there is a significant message about what constitutes “saving the world” within all the interpersonal sturm and drang, a point that says more about how little we’ve progressed in the 23 years since it was first published.
Of course, purists will be wondering if this latest addition to the Watchmen DVD options is worth your time. Well, that all depends. Do you already own the Tales from the Black Freighter/Under the Hood disc? How about the Complete Motion Comic? Want a digital copy of the original theatrical release (the previous Director’s Cut is not offered, oddly enough), video journals, and other exciting added content all in one convenient cardboard case? How about a few exciting extras including everything from previous collections as well as two new commentaries - one from Snyder and one from Gibbons? While not as totally tricked out as some would like (the missing middle version, sans the Black Freighter material, would have been a nice seamless branching touch), the director considers this his final word on the whole Watchmen phenomenon.
They are meant to be the final beat to any life - cinematic or human. They often adorn tombstones, or land like bombshells at the end of elaborate plots. They can be memorable or moving, insightful or indicative of an existence worth noting. They often come from the historical or the histrionic, acting as exclamation points with summary significance attached. We call them “famous last words” and for many they mark the one and only reference point for a particular person, personality, or motion picture.
Don’t think so? Ask someone to name the movie where “Frankly my dear, I don’t give a damn…” comes from and they’re bound to answer Gone with the Wind (actually, that’s not the actual final lines from the film. Scarlett O’Hara, rebuffed by Rhett Butler’s curse, argues that she’ll figure out how to get him back tomorrow. After all, she says, “Tomorrow is another day.”). Mention a noted bit of deathbed cattiness - “My wallpaper and I are fighting a duel to the death. One or the other of us has to go” and the name ‘Oscar Wilde’ instantly comes to mind…well, at least to English majors.
From the obscure (playwright Eugene O’Neill supposedly uttered “I knew it. I knew it. Born in a hotel room - and God damn it - died in a hotel room,” before passing on) to the sublime (Daniel Day-Lewis’ ambiguous reading of There Will Be Blood‘s bombshell, “I’m finished.”), last words resonate with a special kind of power. They can be forceful or sad, pithy or prone to self-pity. In any case, they become like little trivia stepping stones for the cultural maven, a way of gauging knowledge and scope without significantly damaging (or adding to) you geek cred.
In celebration of tomorrow’s DVD and Blu-ray release of Night at the Museum: Battle of the Smithsonian (and the similarly themed bonus featurette - “Historical Confessions: Famous Last Words”), SE&L has selected some of its favorite, and most fascinating, individual and entertainment elegies. In some cases, the selections are obvious. In others, they’re obtuse. While we couldn’t find room for all our choices (we are still trying to confirm that “No More Pull-ups” is indeed the last line of Roland Emmerich’s ditzy disaster epic 2012) the list below should get you thinking about other entries in the category, as well as what you might say if you time should ever come.
“…And oh, Auntie Em, there’s no place like home.” - The Wizard of Oz
“Louis, I think this is the beginning of a beautiful friendship.” - Casablanca
“Look, Daddy. Teacher says, every time a bell rings, an angel gets his wings.” - It’s a Wonderful Life
“…You see, this is my life. It always will be! There’s nothing else - just us - and the cameras - and those wonderful people out there in the dark. All right, Mr. De Mille, I’m ready for my close-up.” - Sunset Boulevard
“In spite of everything, I still believe that people are really good at heart.” - The Diary of Anne Frank
“Well, nobody’s perfect.” - Some Like It Hot
“Mein Fuehrer, I can walk!” - Dr. Strangelove, Or How I Stopped Worrying and Love the Bomb
“You finally really did it. You maniacs! You blew it up! God damn you! God damn you all to hell!” - Planet of the Apes
“You can tell everybody. Listen to me, Hatcher. You’ve got to tell them soylent green is people. We’ve got to stop them somehow.” - Soylent Green
“This was the story of Howard Beale, the first known instance of a man who was killed because he had lousy ratings.” - Network
“It’s too bad she won’t live—but then again, who does?” - Blade Runner (Director’s Cut)
“I’m pregnant.” - Hannah and Her Sisters
“I’m sixty.” - Murphy’s Romance
“I never had any friends later on like the ones I had when I was 12. Jesus, does anyone?” - Stand by Me
“I do wish we could chat longer, but I’m having an old friend for dinner. Bye.” - The Silence of the Lambs
“Hail to the king, baby.” - Army of Darkness
“Dick Laurent is dead.” - Lost Highway
People (Famous or Otherwise)
“Drink to Me!” - Pablo Picasso, painter
“Codeine…bourbon…” - Tallulah Bankhead, actress
“Die, I should say not, dear fellow. No Barrymore would allow such a conventional thing to happen to him”. - John Barrymore, actor
“I should never have switched from Scotch to Martinis”. - Humphrey Bogart, actor
“I’m bored with it all.” - Winston Churchill, statesman
“Dammit…Don’t you dare ask God to help me.” - Joan Crawford, actress
“Yes, it’s tough, but not as tough as doing comedy.” - Edmund Gwenn, actor
“I only regret that I have but one life to lose for my country.” - Nathan Hale, patriot
“Money can’t buy life.” - Bob Marley, musician
“Every damn fool thing you do in this life you pay for.” - Edith Piaf, singer
“I have offended God and mankind because my work did not reach the quality it should have.” - Leonardo Da Vinci, artist/inventor
“Go on, get out! Last words are for fools who haven’t said enough!” - Karl Marx, ideologist
It’s hard to believe that it has been two weeks since the Meat Puppets stopped in Chicago. The band played at Schubas, a neighborhood favorite known for its small den-like feel, modest stage, and decent sound. I managed to catch the trio on their second night of a three-night run.
Releasing: 19 January
Spoon follows last year’s beloved Ga Ga Ga Ga Ga with Transference. Check out a video teaser and two early live versions of a couple tracks below. “Written in Reverse” will be the first single, coming out digitally tomorrow.
01 Before Destruction
02 Is Love Forever?
03 The Mystery Zone
04 Who Makes Your Money
05 Written In Reverse
06 I Saw The Light
07 Trouble Comes Running
08 Goodnight Laura
09 Out Go The Lights
10 Got Nuffin
11 Nobody Gets Me But You
Is Love Forever? (Live) [MP3]
Written in Reverse (Live) [MP3]