Windsor for the Derby
Hold On [MP3]
Shoulda Known [Video]
Kill People [Video]
Confidences Shattered [MP3]
I Want to Be with You [MP3]
It’s not the most visualized holiday in the motion picture canon. Perhaps it has something to do with the bifurcated nature of the celebration. On the one hand, you’ve got the solemn grace of the Christian conceit, a moving proclamation of faith and forgiveness as best illustrated by the crucifixion and resurrection of Jesus Christ. Then, for some perfectly pagan reason, this honorarium for the dead turned into a brightly colored pastel puke fest, as baskets laden with all manner of glucose grotesqueries became the annual endowment to dentists and dieticians everywhere. Even worse, the King of Kings was cast aside for some oversized animal with a tendency toward rapid preproduction and raisin pellet feces. Trying to explain this all to an impressionable youth has got to be one of the greatest challenges in all of parenting. No wonder they saddle their bratlings with all kinds of caffeine and caramels instead.
Hollywood’s been no help. They’ve treated Easter like a leper in the motion picture punchbowl, sticking with either the saintly (The Robe) or the silly (Easter Parade) to illustrate their interest. Of course, kids catch the brunt of it, with all manner of egg and eye candy creations used to keep their attention off the obvious death and dying subtext. Between standard animated offal (It’s the Easter Beagle, Charlie Brown) and the unusual ersatz religious revamps (the Veggies Tales take on Dickens called An Easter Carol) it’s no wonder children choke down sweets. But here’s a way of avoiding all this conceptual contradiction. As part of our cinematic service to the planet’s populace, SE&L suggests tossing out the typical and trying a few new entertainment entries this holiday. While they probably won’t fill you with much spring spirit, they will definitely make the time period more tolerable. Divided into the recognizable symbols of the season, let’s begin with:
Rabbits – Night of the Lepus (1972)
Runner-Up: Evil Anthony conjures up a horrifying rabbit of Hate in Joe Dante’s entry from Twilight Zone: The Movie.
Eggs – Aliens (1986)
Runner-Up: Chad Everett takes on an underwater mutant hatched from a prehistoric omelet in The Intruder Within.
Sweets: The Ice Cream Man (1995)
Runner Up: The sickly sweet killer cream at the center of Larry Cohen’s satiric The Stuff.
The Passion: Dead Alive (1992)
Runner Up: The Japanese argue for the title of most depraved fright fans around thanks to the callous corpse grinding of the Guinea Pig series.
The Resurrection: Deathdream (1974)
Runner Up: The black zombie “redeemer” leading his fellow ghouls out of bondage in George Romero’s Land of the Dead.
The Redemption: The Omega Man (1971)
Runner Up: An international team of scientists, military men, and hack actors all try to save the planet from a Virus that threatens to turn everything into one big Japanese disaster movie.
And there you have it – six films guaranteed to get that nasty taste of bargain basement discount department store pseudo-milk chocolate bunny out of your mouth once and for all. No matter your denomination, or beleaguered belief system, everyone could use a break from tried and true tradition. So give the MGM musicals a rest, and try not to subject yourself to another helping of James Caviezel’s snuff film style scourging at the hands of some psycho-Italianos. Nothing beats the boredom of another mindless spring fling better than something that smotes it right in the repetitive ribcage. With this sly sextet of offerings, it may be a halfway Happy Easter after all.
Photo: Meg Sheff-Atteberry
PopMatters has had plenty of nice things to say about Baltimore’s the Oranges Band (specifically here and here. When the band announced that they were headed into the studio to begin work on their new record, having soldiered through personnel changes and struggles at their label, Lookout Records, it seemed like an excellent time to catch up and to allow them to speak for themselves by cataloging the happenings. Over the next several weeks, Oranges Band frontman Roman Kuebler will write in with updates from the sessions for the band’s third full-length. Judging from the preview of the songs that the band gave at a recent show at Cake Shop in New York City, the arrangements are denser and the lyrics step a city block away from the sundazed atmospherics of their last album. Always an excellent live band, I’ve never heard them sound better. The hope now is that Kuebler will help us better understand the process, or at least the process in this specific case, of taking a group of people and a set of songs and bringing them into a studio for a set amount of days, singing and playing into microphones, plugging and unplugging effects boxes, adjusting levels, hoping nothing important breaks or gets lost or erased, and then, hopefully, walking out with a finished document that comes close to your expectations and which you can then turn around and call your new album.
Doug and I met in NY to rehearse the new Oranges Band material. We had a couple shows scheduled before we hit the studio. My best pal Rachel from Palomar let us use their practice space to get our crap together. There was a minor commotion caused by new kittens… who can resist?!
The Name of This Band Is The Oranges Band
So we’re making this album and when making an album it’s important to remember that a recording is a factual document for the most part. It is the representation of a performance that happened for real. (It’s important to remember that when listening to an album also.) It is a point of view that doesn’t necessarily change anything but it does, for better or worse, kind of level the playing field. So, no matter what the budget, or where it was done, when the engineer hit the record button, David Bowie physically performed the lead vocal to “Young Americans”. (It is also rather funny to think about this fact when you hear it come on the PA at K-Mart while shopping for household items.)
There’s something satisfying about taking a look through a list of games, finding a name that means nothing to you, looking up that name, and suddenly becoming utterly, hopelessly intrigued by the story behind that unfamiliar name.
The name this week: Opoona.
Even if you love gaming, you live and breathe it, you spend hours every day playing, studying, reading, and writing about games, it’s entirely possible that Opoona escaped your notice. For one, it’s on the Wii, an utter shovelware dumping ground of late, one where prior research is becoming absolutely necessary in buying games if only for the sake of avoiding things like Ninjabread Man and Anubis. Something with as impenetrable a title as Opoona is bound to be overlooked, assumed to be not worth our time.
Still, there’s more to the story. Opoona is like the Zak and Wiki of Japan, well-received on a critical level but utterly ignored by the public. It’s an adventure/role-playing experience, apparently moderately long on the first playthrough and utterly gargantuan if you are to complete all of the objectives. The unique, cute, perfect-for-the-Wii art design is by a Dragon Quest alum, which is another mark in its favor. It’s innovative in its control, even for the Wii, featuring the first Nunchuck-only control scheme to be found on the system. Still, its highly Japanese flavor and the relative commercial flavor of it can’t have made it a probable candidate for Americanization.
And yet, it’s on its way. This week, even.
One should almost want to buy Opoona on principle, assuming that those critics who reviewed it upon its initial Japanese release knew what they were talking about. It’s the sort of game that could help to legitimize third-party software on the Wii, the type of game that could stifle the detractors who assume that the Wii is only good for games created by Nintendo itself, with the occasional exception of the inexplicably popular set of mini-games (hello, Carnival Games). Sadly, there’s a good chance nobody will buy it. Prove me wrong, America.
Elsewhere, the action/role-playing of Crisis Core will likely give the Final Fantasy VII junkie set something to do for a month, and anyone up for a little bit of “Global Conquest” might do well to check out the new Command & Conquer 3 expansion. Dark Sector looks like it may put some new spins on the FPS, and hey, if mini-games are your thing, there’s always Summer Sports. The full list of this week’s releases is after the break…
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