Friday, June 10, 2005

Quoth the raven: "Holla!"

Music stuff first: while I lamented the summer slate of album releases, there are albums from the last few months that still deserve attention:

New Order’s Waiting for the Sirens' Call. Sure, it’s cool to say indie bands of today sound like New Order, but it’s just better to actually listen to the Brits, especially when they are making better records than their self-appointed progeny. “Guilt is a Useless Emotion," apart from being awesomely titled, is the best track on it.

Kathleen Edwards’ Back to Me is sort of like if Ryan Adams, with his alt-country inclinations and un-country language, hooked up with Sarah Harmer, with her amazing voice (quite simply the best in Canada. Emily and Leslie, you get honourable mention.) I would even point out a physical resemblance between Harmer and Edwards, but I can’t see her face on the album cover because her... back is to me… Ah! You got me Kathleen!

With the Decemberist’s Picaresque, you officially have no reason to complain that there aren’t any nine minute sea chantees to be heard on the radio. If Samuel Taylor Coleridge were in a band, he would play music like this. And in what group would the macabre stylings of Edgar Allan Poe be most suited? That one’s easy.

For films, however, there is at least one summer release worth looking forward to: Batman Begins. I really don’t see how this could turn out bad. You’ve got Christopher Nolan, who’s first two films are minor classics: Insomnia, (how this film got overlooked for awards is beyond me) and Memento (which I still believe would make a great weekly television drama. “Previously on Memento: That’s odd, I can’t remember!”)

Plus the film has a great supporting cast: Gary Oldman, who thankfully needed work, and Morgan Freeman, who could quite honestly narrate a hemorrhoids commercial and still melt the heart of even the hardest of misanthropes. Best of all, however, is zombie killer Cillian Murphy, who plays the Scarecrow. If he’s anything like Dorothy’s friend, he mercifully won’t have the cognitive capacity to formulate awful puns like previous Bat-villains. Murphy’s always struck me as sort of a Irish Cary Elwes: charming as a good guy, strangely creepy as a villain, and woefully underutilized as an actor.

At the same time, I discount other possibly entertaining films, like Fantastic Four, because of more contentious casting choices. Jessica Alba as an astronaut? It looks more like she’s a member of a teenage girl-band who hitched a ride aboard an international space station – which sadly, is all too believable in our modern world.

And Tom Cruise’s recent public appearances have me more worried that he’s giving away spoilers from his upcoming film than sacrificing his mental health. I don’t know how War of the Worlds ends, but if aliens are defeated by the universal power of love, I’m going to puke.

One Bat-caveat: if Bruce Wayne jumps on any couches and pumps his fists in Gotham, I give up.


Thomas said...

Dude - if we co-post like that people will think we're, you know....not that there's anything wrong with that. And Batman Begins can indeed suck. And Insomnia was overlooked for awards because it was already a much better Norwegian film without Robin Williams. I know, I know - just because it's a remake doesn't mean it sucks blah blah blah. Listen - watch the original. Just watch it. Then we'll talk.

Anonymous said...


Yeah, way to pick up on the Kathleen Edwards album 6 months later. I worked for her dad, and he plays it everyday in his office. Her dad also sent you a Christmas card!!