Archive for the ‘Movies’ Category

I was fortunate to be able to see Kurt Cobain: Montage of Heck this weekend in Hollywood, and I can’t emphasize enough how good it is – good enough that I saw it twice.  The second screening I went to also had the added bonus of a Q&A with director Brett Morgen, who spent eight years working on the film.  Based on interviews with a handful of people who knew Kurt best, as well as access to a treasure trove of personal effects owned by the Cobain family, this film is probably the closest people are going to get to a Kurt Cobain autobiography.  With the exception of a handful of soundbites from interviews with his parents, sister, ex-girlfriend Tracy Marander, bandmate Krist Novoselic, and wife Courtney Love, most of the film is narrated by Kurt himself, collected from audio recordings he made for himself as well as interviews, home movies, excerpts from his journals, and his artwork.

His life story – and that of Nirvana – has been told and retold many times, so in terms of factual content there isn’t much new that most Nirvana fans didn’t already know.  Without giving anything away, Morgen does an outstanding job of trying to portray such a complex, contradictory and revered figure as Cobain within the confines of two hours and fifteen minutes.  Worth noting are the rearrangements of Nirvana songs like “All Apologies” and “Lithium” by composer Jeff Danna (you can hear a few snippets of these in the trailer), and the animated sequences created by Hisko Hulsing and Stefan Nadelman, who animated some of Cobain’s artwork as well as create original sequences to illustrate life experiences recounted by Cobain himself on his audio tapes.

I would strongly recommend people go see this film in theaters if they can – mainly for the sound. During the live performance sequences, it feels like the closest thing to actually being at a Nirvana concert, and sounds absolutely incredible. For those of us who never got the chance to go to a Nirvana show, this is probably as good as it’s ever going to get.

Update: One more thing worth mentioning – the companion book to the movie has scans and photos of the artwork, journal entries and artifacts, as well as outtakes from the interviews which were not used in the film.  I have a copy and highly recommend reading it.  There is supposed to be a soundtrack for the project with material from Kurt’s tapes, but no release date or further details yet.

Update II: Here’s a blog post from a few years ago.  During the course of my Alice in Chains research, I found a copy of the November 1988 issue of Backlash which had the review for the Love Buzz/Big Cheese single – Nirvana’s first single.  Enjoy!

In a single frame, cartoonist Milt Priggee manages to describe the situation over Syria:

Reminds me of this scene from a John Woo movie. I nominate John Travolta for the role of Assad.

Everybody’s excited about the final chapter in Christopher Nolan’s Batman trilogy, and Rush Limbaugh sees a liberal Hollywood/Democratic Party conspiracy:

Speaking on his syndicated radio show on Tuesday, the right-wing host brought up the upcoming Batman film The Dark Knight Rises (or as he called it, The Dark Knight Lights Up), in particular focusing on its main villain, the Tom Hardy-portrayed hulking madman Bane. With Mitt Romney’s time at the investment fund (and the questionable time at which he retired from it) filling non-entertainment news headlines, Limbaugh tied the two together, casting some tough accusations at director Christopher Nolan and Warner Bros.

“Do you think it is accidental that the name of the really vicious firebreathing, four-eyed whatever-it-is villain in this movie is named Bane?” Limbaugh asked his listeners.

Limbaugh did note that the film, the sequel to the 2008 hit The Dark Knight, has been in the works for a long time, with a summer 2012 release date long part of the plan.

“So this evil villain in the new Batman movie is named Bane. And there’s discussion out there as to whether or not this was purposeful and whether or not it will influence voters. It’s going to have a lot of people,” he continued. “The audience is going to be huge. A lot of people are going to see the movie. And it’s a lot of braindead people, entertainment, the pop culture crowd, and they’re going to hear Bane in the movie and they’re going to associate Bain.

“And the thought is that when they’re going to start paying attention to the campaign later in the year,” Limbaugh asserted, “and Obama and the Democrats keep talking about Bain, not Bain Capitol but Romney and Bain, that these people will start thinking back to the Batman movies – ‘Oh yeah, I know who that is!'”

Four years ago, conservatives were singing a very different tune about The Dark Knight:

There seems to me no question that the Batman film “The Dark Knight,” currently breaking every box office record in history, is at some level a paean of praise to the fortitude and moral courage that has been shown by George W. Bush in this time of terror and war. Like W, Batman is vilified and despised for confronting terrorists in the only terms they understand. Like W, Batman sometimes has to push the boundaries of civil rights to deal with an emergency, certain that he will re-establish those boundaries when the emergency is past.

And like W, Batman understands that there is no moral equivalence between a free society — in which people sometimes make the wrong choices — and a criminal sect bent on destruction. The former must be cherished even in its moments of folly; the latter must be hounded to the gates of Hell.

“The Dark Knight,” then, is a conservative movie about the war on terror. And like another such film, last year’s “300,” “The Dark Knight” is making a fortune depicting the values and necessities that the Bush administration cannot seem to articulate for beans.
Andrew Klavan, The Wall Street Journal, July 25, 2008.

But Batman goes into another country and with a C-130 snatches a guy out, and then throws him back here into Gotham. So there’s rendition. At one point the Morgan Freeman character says to Batman, wait a minute, hang on, you’re eavesdropping on everyone in Gotham? And Batman says, yes, to stop this terrorist. Morgan Freeman says, I can’t be a part of it. And yet Morgan Freeman does become a part of it, and they find the Joker. One of the ways they find the Joker is through eavesdropping. I mean the parallels here of what’s going on is to me stunning.
Glenn Beck, CNN, August 6, 2008

Hey, guys… ever stop to consider that maybe the Batman movies are just meant to be entertainment? Or that maybe voters – right and left – are intelligent enough to make their own decisions at the polls and not base them on the name of the villain in a superhero movie?

Update: Politicizing Batman isn’t limited to Republicans. Check out this quote from a Democratic operative (h/t Andrew Sullivan):

“It has been observed that movies can reflect the national mood. Whether it is spelled Bain and being put out by the Obama campaign or Bane and being out by Hollywood, the narratives are similar: a highly intelligent villain with offshore interests and a past both are seeking to cover up who had a powerful father and is set on pillaging society.”
Chris Lehane, Washington Examiner, July 16, 2012

Update II: This was bound to happen inevitably… Somebody photoshopped Mitt Romney’s face on Bane’s body.

Priceless find in one of my drawers: a program for a @UNICEF awards show I went to in Amsterdam when I was 13, signed by the late great Audrey Hepburn.

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Fantastic news. From the LA Times:

In the hunt for a new spy series, Universal Pictures has acquired the rights to Daniel Silva’s books about Gabriel Allon, a former Israeli intelligence operative turned art restorer. Jeff Zucker, who stepped down as NBC Universal CEO in January, has come on board to produce.

Allon has appeared in ten of Silva’s books, beginning with 2001’s “The Kill Artist” and continuing through the recent “The Rembrandt Affair.” The latest installment, “Portrait of a Spy,” will be published by Harper in July.

Universal has picked up rights to all past and future books in the series, which have an estimated 25 million books in print.

The books are terrific. If you haven’t read any of them, imagine if Jack Bauer worked for the Mossad. The fact that Daniel Silva will be involved with the movie as an executive producer hopefully means that the script will stay as true to his book as possible.

The Hangover Part II

Posted: March 31, 2011 in Movies
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New trailer is out… Looks like this is gonna be EPIC.

Happy Friday the 13th

Posted: February 13, 2009 in Movies
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Everyone’s favorite hockey mask-wearing, machete-wielding homicidal maniac is back.