All Your Basses Are Belong To Us

November 19, 2008 at 13:28 (Music, News, Reviews, Video Games) (, , , , , , , , , , , )

However misguided the R&B ambitions of Jack White and Alicia Keys’ Quantum of Solace may be, it’s been much too long, I fear, since I last indulged in such bombastic bass, and “Another Way to Die” fills that sweaty pit of sub-sound perfectly.

Still haven’t seen the movie, though.

So who saw this coming?

How Many Million Bicycles in Beijing?

How Many Million Bicycles in Beijing?

I’m enough of a dyed-in-the-wool Guns N’ Roses fan that this album already means more to me than the punchline I imagine much of the rest of the world will hear it as, but all the leaks have meant there are only five songs I haven’t already heard a hundred times over.  “There Was A Time” is still my favourite; I’m such an outright sucker for rock ballads I should be pelted with animal crackers until dead.

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Two new reviews for you all to take a gander at.  Actually, come to think of it, six reviews, I suppose — the Puzzle Pack and the Power Pack collect together three PSN titles apiece.  The latter is decidedly the better of the pair, and while it’s great value for money – both are, but I’d sell my remaining grandparents for flOw – I can’t help but be a bit disappointed SCEE seem more intent on wringing a few more sales out of some middle of the road downloadable games than genuinely representing the unique strengths of the PlayStation Network.  Still.  A tenner and change makes for an incredible deal that’ll keep anyone with a PSP busy during what little downtime they have between the flood of triple-A console and PC releases.

Soundtrack to this entry: Donovan – Hurdy Gurdy Man

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Songs For The Dead: Not A Real Movie Review of Catch and Release

July 26, 2008 at 0:36 (Books, Movies, Rants, Reviews) (, , , , , , , , , , , )

Well, wow.

Every now and then something comes along and genuinely surprises you.  I didn’t have any particular expectations for Catch and Release – Kevin Smith in a supporting role drew me to it, but only enough that it’s languished on my (virtual) shelves since its release in 2006.  I only glad I finally gave it a chance; for her first time in the director’s chair, Susannah Grant makes a striking impression.  She’s written some excellent screenplays in her time, I’ll give her that – namely Ever After and Erin Brockovich – but from her new vantage point it seems as if she’s been better able to bring out the nuances of her script: the cast positively bounce out of the screen, witty, verbose and true.

Everyone loves Jennifer Garner, and I may finally have to give up on Sheriff Seth Bullock – Timothy Olyphant comes into his own again, despite a fairly underwritten role as the other half of Garner’s inappropriate rebound relationship.  On the other hand, the script has too much time for Sam Yaeger’s Dennis, who does not convince as another of Garner’s unrequited admirers.  Otherwise, an excellent film.  I’d respectfully disagree with critics who’ve zoned out at the prospect of another romantic comedy and pulled out the stock “one for the ladies” nonsense to justify themselves.  Actually, no, that’s not terribly respectful at all.

To hell with it: they’re wrong about Catch and Release.  It’s a warm character piece with an honest-to-goodness heart of gold.  Kevin Smith is everything that’s right about this movie.  As a rather less profane version of himself, he’s cuddly, considerate and clever.  In fact, Catch and Release feels very much like the sort of flick he’d be making now if his dip into the mainstream with the ill-fated Jersey Girl hadn’t gone so awry.

At the end of the day, my possible man-crush on Kevin Smith is not the only – nor even the best – reason to see this film.  If you have a heart, Catch and Release will sing to it.

Of course it’s made me melancholy in all the usual ways.

I’ve brooded thoughtfully about the landing considering if this is the perfect time of night; I can hear cats squawling from the gardens and I feel an inappropriate urge to break the eerie silence with very loud Guns N’ Roses.  But the other half sleeps…

Bah.

***

Stay tune for an impromptu Haruki Murakami week.  There’s an embargo to obey but this morning’s post brought a copy of What I Talk About When I Talk About Running, a memoir-come-rumination on age and countless other subjects, and the latest of his work to see English translation.  I’ve still got the read the thing, but expect a review here in the next ten days.  In the meantime, I’ve a review of his last novel, After Dark, to repurpose from Amazon, and a circuituously connected piece on another Japanese weird-fiction sensation in the making: Yoko Ogawa.

So.  Cats, earlobes and other Murakamian artefacts.  Fun!

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Chinese Democracy of One

July 21, 2008 at 15:39 (Music, Rants) (, , , , , , )

I don’t know that I can justify my unfettering love for Guns n’ Roses.

I certainly don’t feel it – ah, the aches of early-onset age – but that said, I’m ever-so-slightly too young to have grown up with Axl yowling in my ears.  Thanks to my Dad’s occasional benders and his unfailing ability to work a record player even when utterly out of it, there was plenty of Led Zeppelin, lots of Dire Straits and ZZ Top and the Beatles; I think I’m most grateful to him for the Pink Floyd, but that’s neither here nor there – suffice it to say I’m not altogether surprised my favourite ladies get on with him so well.  But whatever he wanted to soundtrack his too infrequent booze-ups with, it was never GnR.

There was no Guns n’ Roses on the radio, either – wow, remember the radio?

There was Whigfield, 2 Unlimited, Shaggy, East 17, Eternal, PJ and hot-damn Duncan.  And what a tragic fucking youth that could have been.  By the time I was old enough to take an interest in music, it… well, it sucked, as far as I knew.  I heard plenty of it, but I made time for none of it.  It was when Dad got drunk – or rather, after he’d gotten drunk and the anger had passed – that I started to care.  It was at New Year’s and whenever our childminder, Walter, turned up with a bottle of malt to drink him under the table.

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