{fv_addthis}

Latest Blog Posts

by Terry Sawyer

18 Mar 2009

Make-Out is one of those movies where you peg the pitch within the first five minutes. This is Garden State with a zombie in it (complete with shambolic indie rock conspicuously framing far too many scenes). That seems to be a common denominator amongst films where the elements of the story are impressionistic or easily orphaned; they seem like premises before they were stories. Make-Out feels like it has styles and mimicked depth, but in the end it’s really for nothing, since the climax is just another scene, the last merciful domino to fall into place. Where the story lures you in (a mysterious death, the concentric aftershocks of grief), it mostly leaves them behind for a case study in circles of friends and family who have sexual interests in one another. It might gall the movie makers to hear this, but I kept thinking of Friends, a show I never watched, because it seemed to be about people I didn’t care about who mix-and-matched their fleeting emotional attachments to entertain themselves.

This is really a film about perverse objects of obsessive love, a subject much better mined by movies like Love Object and Elvis and Annabelle. Make-Out lacks emotional excavation. While one brother is chasing after someone who is of course in love with someone who will never love her back, the other brother proms up the zombie girl and feeds her birthday cake in a scene that embarrassingly steals from both Hannibal and Happy Birthday To Me. It’s obvious he’s projected a fairly impervious fantasy about the poor zombie, who he seems to know little about, but loves freshening up her lipstick and feeding her fresh rat heads.

As far as zombie’s go, Wendy is comparatively inanimate. Even a couple of well-fed dogs barely rouse her to a hobble and she can’t even eat her own birthday cake. If there were any emotional investment to be had in this movie, this might be an unsettling, painful, and poignant place to start. How do we let go? In fact, I admire the premise that a huge number of people would simply try to normalize the resurrection of a loved one, even a flesh eating one, because the power of grief can decimate the rational. But the normalization goes too far, to a point of blasé that makes you instinctively ask why no one who finds a friend thought to be dead, tied up and convulsing uncontrollably, would call the hospital?

Of course even the most ridiculous premise can be sold with a character. An audience can forgive a generously leaking plot, if they can find someone to invest in, root for, someone even to hate. Make-Out is completely rotten with Xanax-barred emotion, where every character sounds like they accessing memorized narcissistic platitudes about their feelings, but they don’t really seem to have feelings. There’s a ridiculous sub-plot on the secrets of making a grieving girl fall in love with and have sex with you that’s just one more out-of-place element jockeying for an overall tone. That’s why it feels so much like a sales pitch. It’s funny, it’s sad, it’s got cute indie people talking past each other, a beautiful corpse and a soundtrack for people who use depression the way children use binkies and blankets. 

Did I mention the little boy, molded after a Stand By Me character, who voice-overs the entire movie with paltry narrative gloss on the snail trailing plot shards? The viewer doesn’t need the additional distancing of the omniscient narrator who begins as a crucial character and then, like so much of the movie, gets thrown away to follow some other half-formed mood or anemic repartee. Does anyone care how this girl died? It’s slightly suggested that she died because one of the characters may or may not have a dark, sadistic sexual interest in her, but why doesn’t the director care? Why is it more important to have a scene where the prelude to a kiss is, “Let’s get awesome.”

This could have easily been enjoyably farcical and ultimately creepy in the way that people don’t really how truly dehumanizing idolizing love can be. This film needed something other than a series of marketing takes. The writing never salvages the restless remains of the story. If Hal Hartley used to be detachment for people who had lived too much; Make-Out is just lazy ennui, a movie with the momentum of sleep and the conscience of a bored sociopath who likes Gossip Girl.

 

by Sarah Zupko

18 Mar 2009

Ten years ago this week, Blur released 13, an album like 1997’s Blur that moved them resolutely away from the Britpop that made them stars in the UK. Below are the album’s three singles with their official videos as well as a few live treats from the record.

 

OFFICIAL VIDEOS

Blur - “Tender” (single released February 22, 1999)

Blur - “Coffee and TV” (single released June 28, 1999)

Blur - “No Distance Left to Run” (single released November 15, 1999)

 

LIVE VIDEOS

Blur - “Tender” (live on Jools Holland)

Blur - “Bugman” (live on Jools Holland)

Blur - “Mellow Song” and “Trailerpark” (live in Spain)

Blur - “B.L.U.R.E.M.I.” (MTV live)

by PopMatters Staff

18 Mar 2009

Tennessee power pop band Superdrag has a new album, Industry Giants out this week. Here’s the new video for the single “Aspartame” as well as some upcoming tour dates.

TOUR DATES
APR 03     WASHINGTON, D.C.    9:30 CLUB
APR 04     PHILADELPHIA, PA   JOHNNY BRENDA’S
APR 09     NEW YORK, NY     BOWERY BALLROOM
APR 10     BROOKLYN, NY     MUSIC HALL OF WILLIAMSBURG
APR 11     BOSTON, MA         PARADISE
APR 24     ROCK ISLAND, IL     DAYTROTTER SESSION
APR 25     CHICAGO, IL         METRO

by Thomas Britt

18 Mar 2009

As Mobb Deep, Prodigy and Havoc can claim two nearly unrivaled classics in The Infamous and Hell on Earth. Sidetracked in recent years by Jay-Z beefs, the G-Unit imbroglio, and Prodigy’s incarceration, the duo’s future is unclear.

Prodigy’s solo work, most notably on Return of the Mac, has expanded on his early promise as a grim lyricist with a unique perspective. Havoc has always been prolific with production but not as successful a rapper as his counterpart. So Hidden Files follows much in the same manner as his solo debut Kush. Neither album will be remembered for its lyrical content or flow, but Havoc’s terse, foreboding sonic atmospheres cannot be denied.

The first half of the album aims for a hodgepodge of modern production styles, with nods to boom bap, reheated G-funk and the cinematic pomp of Young Jeezy. The exception is rock bid “Watch Me (ft Ricky Blaze)”, which is a simple curiosity but packs more of a punch than rock forays by Diddy or Lil Wayne. But Hidden Files really hits its stride with a four-song arc that includes “The Hustler”, “The Millennium”, “Walk Wit Me”, and “On a Mission (ft Prodigy)”. These songs hint at the dark soundscapes and cold, specific street narratives that were the signatures of Mobb Deep.

So not every track here is a keeper, but Hidden Files is worth checking out as it makes use of the lean, menacing qualities that form the bedrock of Mobb Deep’s classic output. This set is a serviceable stopgap that will hold listeners over until Havoc and Prodigy once again combine their strengths on an LP.

“The Millennium”

“Walk Wit Me”

by PopMatters Staff

18 Mar 2009

Afro-punk SXSW 09 Mix - By DJ Skeet Skeet
Artists Performing At SXSW 2009
(released 15 March 2009)

  1. Whole Wheat Bread - Throw Yo Sets Up
  2. Dallas Austin - Children of the Revolution
  3. Janelle Monae - Violet Stars Happy Hunting
  4. The London Souls - Someday
  5. Irradio - Call The Nation
  6. Amercian Fangs - LeKick
  7. The Smyrk - The Ballad of Fletcher Reede
  8. J.U.S Evolution - Fast Money
  9. Peekaboo Theory - Immediate Hesitation
  10. Disaster Us - Slice Me Up

  Mixed by: DJ SKEET SKEET

DJ Skeet Skeet
Afro-Punk SXSW ‘09 Mix Tape [MP3]

//Mixed media
//Blogs

Moving Pixels Podcast: Highbrow, Middle Brow, and Lowbrow in Free-to-Play Gaming

// Moving Pixels

"From the charmingly trashy to the more artistically inclined, there is a wide variety of gaming options in the free-to-play market.

READ the article