Thursday, March 31, 2011
I graduated high school in 1984 (shaddup you!) so I was in my prime beer drinking, rocking out, mullet-headed (oh precious hair, how I miss thee), bombing out of college stage by this point. Sammy Hagar was the new lead singer for Van Halen (which I was fine with really, David Lee Roth had gotten on my nerves a bit), wildman and Motley Crue drummer Tommy Lee had married Heather Locklear and you couldn't turn on MTV without seeing A-Ha or Mr. Mister or maybe even Falco singing "Rock Me Amadeus". At least you could see videos back then, but that's a whole other post. The cool dudes had mullets and the cool chicks dressed like Madonna. But sadly, it was also the same year that Cliff Burton of Metallica was killed in a bus crash and Phil Lynott of Thin Lizzy died of heart failure. R.I.P.
There were so many artists I was getting into then, mostly to do with "hair metal" or pop metal with hairspray. Most wasn't actually metal, but it was fun and harmless (except to maybe the ozone layer) with catchy hooks and sing along lyrics. The odd thing, or maybe not so odd really, is that I still listen to a whole lot of this stuff today. Metallica is probably still my favorite band. I never had a problem with the music Van Halen made with Sammy out front either. Sure it was a bit polished, but I found it fun. Poison took off the make-up and got hair plugs, but still draw skanky hos on reality TV so that's good. Right?
So just because I was thinking about this over the last few days, I give you a list of my top 25 favorite albums celebrating their 25th anniversary this year. These may not have been my favorite 25 at the time, for instance I didn't really get into Metallica until their next album, but looking back these are the 25 that were released that year that turned out the most important to me.
My Top 25 Albums of 1986
25. Steve Earle - Guitar Town
24. Fastway - Trick or Treat
23. Ratt - Dancing Undercover
22. Iron Maiden - Somewhere in Time
21. Motörhead - Orgasmatron
20. Billy Idol - Whiplash Smile
19. Queensrÿche - Rage for Order
18. Poison - Look What The Cat Dragged In
17. Huey Lewis & The News - Fore!
16. Boston - Third Stage
15. Dio - Intermission
14. Run D.M.C. - Raising Hell
13. David Lee Roth - Eat 'Em and Smile
12. Peter Gabriel - So
11. Judas Priest - Turbo
10. Journey - Raised on Radio
9. Ozzy Osbourne - The Ultimate Sin
8. AC/DC - Who Made Who
7. Cinderella - Night Songs
6. Bon Jovi - Slippery When Wet
5. Tesla - Mechanical Resonance
4. Megadeth - Peace Sells... But Who's Buying?
3. Beastie Boys - Licensed to Ill
2. Van Halen - 5150
1. Metallica - Master of Puppets
Sorry, no New Kids on the Block, but holy cow that is a lot of great music (to me anyway). My iPod is still packed with songs off all these albums today, and probably always will be. 1986 was one of the best years ever for my musical tastes.
Tuesday, March 29, 2011
If you decide to make an entire movie with only one guy on the screen the entire time, buried in a coffin, that one guy better be damn good. And Ryan Reynolds is just that here. He's got a cell phone, flashlight and a Zippo but it's all him. And he goes through fear, anger, panic, sadness, happiness, depression and acceptance all convincingly.
I thought the script was great as well. The pace of the film is perfect as the suspense builds and the shots within the coffin keep it from getting bogged down somehow. If you are claustrophobic, avoid this. I beg you. You're in the coffin with him for 90 minutes.
The only thing I can think of to compare this to is the CSI 2-parter (Grave Danger) back in season 5 that Quentin Tarantino co-wrote and directed where Nick gets buried in a glass casket and has a video camera on him while the team tries to find him and get to him. I also thought a bit of Colin Ferrell in Phone Booth back in 2002 for some reason.
So just one actor in an edge-of-your-seat thriller? In one location? Yes, it's possible. And the finale is mind-blowing. Good movie.
Another production from the fine folks at SyFy and also After Dark Films, this one is a bit better than most of the (lovable) schlock that SyFy produces I thought. Sure, the story is pretty much exactly the same... take a monster (in this case a banshee) and have it knock off people while they try to solve the mystery of what's going on and how to kill it. Insert big showdown at the end and presto... a SyFy network movie.
So that all being said, it's usually acting, special effects and script that set these movies apart. The script in this one is good but there are some head-scratchers in the storyline for sure. The cast I thought was pretty good with the best being Lauren Holly and Lance Henriksen. The directing is very competent. The creature and special effects? Well they're sort of hit and miss. Some of it, like a banshee head-in-a-box, look sort of cool. But then again, some of the more gory effects are pretty crapola and funny.
Overall the concept and mythology of the banshee is sort of fun as it kills you only if you scream. The story moves along at nice pace and kept me wanting to see what happened next. But it's still a little too formulaic and full of cliches with a pretty predictable conclusion. Still though, it provides an adequate amount of fun, thrills, chills and suspense to be watchable.
Monday, March 28, 2011
As soon as we found the hotel and got checked in we began the onslaught of walking, eating, shopping and drinking that I'll be smiling and laughing about for a few decades. We hit so many great restaurants and pubs and such it would be impossible to recap. After all the beignets and coffee from Cafe Du Monde, Lucky Dogs, beer from the pubs and all the awesome cajun chow from all over the city settled in I think I gained a good 5 lbs. There's just so much great food and drink in this city. The only thing that saved us a bit was all the walking... maybe 10 miles a day I'm guessing between the shops on Canal and the whole French Quarter area as well as walking way down St. Charles.
We also made it out to the aquarium, the zoo, Audubon Park, an NCAA tournament game (Butler upsetting Florida), rode the mule-drawn carriages, took a walking ghost tour, hit the casino, wandered around the French Market for hours with mimosas in hand (and spent money), sang at a piano bar and went to a concert (Apocalyptica at the House of Blues).
It was non-stop almost from start to finish. On the way home we even stopped at the legendary Myrtles Plantation, an antebellum plantation in St. Francisville, La. We didn't get there in time for a ghost tour, but walked around a bit. In addition to being on the national register of historic places and just being a gorgeous place, it's also one of America's most haunted homes. Neat place.
Sadly, it was 74 degrees when we packed the car in NOLA yesterday morning and 44 when we got back to Little Rock. The whole time we were there it was sunny, windy and warm. I got a sun/wind burn and we wore short sleeves most of the time.
Really the beautiful weather just added to the near perfection of the whole thing. But oh well... back to reality. It won't be my last trip to NOLA though.
Next up? Some rest this week then Kenny Chesney's "Goin Coastal" tour on Friday night with Billy Currington and Uncle Kracker in support. That should get the weekend going. Baseball season also gets kicking this week so the Travelers will be playing home games in just a few weeks. We've also got a Vegas trip planned in 5 weeks. When that one is over, the boat should be cleaned up, launched and providing some partyin' fun on the lake.
I've got tickets to not 1 but 2 Keith Urban shows later this Summer... in Jonesboro, AR and Nashville, TN. Edgefest 2011 with Stone Sour, Avenged Sevenfold, Seether, Sevendust, Three Days Grace, Halestorm and others is coming up in April. I've got tickets for the Foo Fighters show here in May with Motorhead and Biffy Clyro. Lastly, Riverfest has announced a fun line-up with Nelly, REO Speedwagon, Barenaked Ladies, Poison, Papa Roach and others for Memorial Weekend.
So sleep when you're dead.
Here's a decent video I found from the House of Blues show I was at on Thursday night:
Sunday, March 27, 2011
Good news for Scream fans coming in today - 'Scream: The Inside Story', the Dan Farrands-directed Scream documentary for A&E's BIO Channel, now has a confirmed airdate of Wednesday, April 6th, with repeats later that night and during the early morning hours on Thursday, April 7th. Check your local listings for the exact times.Synopsis:
In 1996 director Wes Craven unleashed Scream, a slasher flick that shattered box-office records for horror films and turned Craven and some hot young actors (Neve Campbell, Skeet Ulrich, and Rose McGowan) into overnight stars. In this two-hour special, we go inside the Scream story with all-new, exclusive interviews with cast and crew. Viewers will learn that Craven originally didn't want to direct the film, the production had to survive delays and objections to its violent content, and industry analysts predicted it would be bomb at the box office. But Scream became a blockbuster and single-handedly revived the horror genre.In a recent interview with HelloSidney.com Farrands discusses the challenges he faced putting the documentary together:
'The biggest challenge in terms of acquiring material was that the ownership of the SCREAM films is extremely convoluted, and this was compounded by the fact that while we were in production, the entire Miramax library was being sold off by its then-owners (The Walt Disney Company, no less) to a new group of investors. It literally took months of sitting back and waiting to see how and if the sale of Miramax was going to be handled. And it took several more months of waiting, back and forth communicating, and finally negotiating with the new owners to get permission to use the film footage and archival materials. And all of this while we were on a pretty tight deadline to deliver the show to BIO Channel. It was a big leap of faith to even start the show knowing that any time the house of cards could have toppled. Fortunately, the new owners of Miramax really loved what we were doing and made it possible for us to have access to all of the materials that we needed.'As for the message the doc relays and how the original Scream impacted him personally, Farrands shares the following:
'I'm not sure what kind of message it sends, but it certainly tells the most complete story of the making of the original film. We touch on the sequels, including the genesis of SCREAM 4, but it's really the story of a struggling screenwriter, a director in need of a hit, and a maverick studio who came together to create cinematic history. It's a very respectful and in a way nostalgic look back at a horror film that came out of the blue and took everyone by storm.''SCREAM came around right as I was embarking on my own career as a filmmaker, and certainly its success opened doors for me (and people like me) to be able to sell projects in a genre we loved. I remember that after SCREAM became a hit, everyone in town wanted to hear horror pitches, and I suddenly felt like I was riding that wave. I sold several projects, some of them right in a studio executive's office, because suddenly horror was 'hot' again. Had it not been for SCREAM, I'm not sure some of those opportunities would have existed.
Going into this project right on the heels of our epic NIGHTMARE ON ELM STREET retrospective (NEVER SLEEP AGAIN: THE ELM STREET LEGACY), there was already a familiarity with Wes and a certain level of comfort with the form. We knew what worked from that show and what fans seemed to respond to, so even though this one was different in that it needed to fit the format of an existing documentary series for television, we really tried to bring to the table as many of the cool elements from NEVER SLEEP AGAIN as we could.'Click here for the BIO Channel's overview of 'Scream: The Inside Story', 'like' 'Scream: The Inside Story' on Facebook, and then turn out the lights, brush up on the rules of horror movies, and get ready to 'Scream' all over again!
Make sure to check out our SCREAM 4 Coverage.
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Scream your head off in the comments section below!
Saturday, March 26, 2011
Thursday, March 24, 2011
(C) 2011 Sony Music Entertainment
Wednesday, March 23, 2011
Tuesday, March 22, 2011
Last night we hit a solid rock show with Valient Thorr, Iron Tongue and Cerebral Ballzy at the Rev Room. Crazy show. Tonight I've got a college baseball game between University of Arkansas and University of Memphis, my first of many, many baseball games at the park this year.
Then tomorrow morning I'm off to New Orleans for some time in The Big Easy eating, drinking and doing touristy stuff. Got a concert Thursday night at The House of Blues with Apocalyptica and We Are The Fallen then we should be at the NCAA tourney game to decide one of the Final Four spots on Saturday between the winners of BYU/Florida and Wisconsin/Butler. I'll be hitting all my favorite NOLA haunts and hopefully find some new ones. Headin' home Sunday.
Whew. Then the "break" is over I guess. Cheers.
Monday, March 21, 2011
Small Town Throws Pride Parade For Only Gay Resident
If you're not a fan of sports films or more specifically boxing films, you'll still probably like this as it's more about family and overcoming adversity really than anything. Sure, it's not incredibly original but it's based on a true story so I can overlook that a bit. The story is still very interesting and the Ward family overall is both annoying, entertaining and funny. But Bale, Adams and Wahlberg stand out.
Wahlberg doesn't get too emotional but has to look like he knows what he's doing in the boxing ring and occasionally act torn or confused, all of which he's good act. It's easy to believe him as a professional boxer. Amy Adams gives a nice tough girl touch to the film and is great and exactly what her role needed. But Christian Bale as the former fighter turned drug addict is outstanding. You can tell he's just totally submerged into the character is so believable I was afraid the guy would OD for real by the end of it. Maybe Bale's best role yet, and that's saying something. The rest of the family from Mickey's mother and father to all the sisters are fantastically entertaining.
It's another rags-to-riches, feelgood boxing movie with great in-ring action but it has brains as well as muscle with great drama outside the gym. It doesn't dip into the smaltyz area a lot of these "inspirations sports dramas" do. It feels real. A solid movie. And it throws a little Led Zeppelin, Aerosmith and Whitesnake at you for good measure.
Saturday, March 19, 2011
The light-heavyweight champ, Shogun Rua, has his hands full with the most hyped fighter of all-time maybe in the UFC, Jon "Bones" Jones. I love Jones and all the hype is because of what he's done in the cage so it's all justified. I'm with the odds makers on this one... we're gonna have a new champ.
Also a few favorite fighters of mine like Urijah Faber, Nate "The Great" Marquardt and more recently Kamal Shalorus are on the televised card so this ought to be fun.
Sports Illustrated column on Jon Jones
Sports Illustrated column on Nate Marquardt
Rua article at Versus
5 notes not about the main event (Bleacher Report)
Main Card (PPV)
* Mauricio "Shogun" Rua vs. Jon Jones (for light-heavyweight title)
* Urijah Faber vs. Eddie Wineland
* Jim Miller vs. Kamal Shalorus
* Nate Marquardt vs. Dan Miller
* Mirko "Cro Cop" Filipovic vs. Brendan Schaub
Prelims (Spike TV)
* Luiz Cane vs. Eliot Marshall
* Edson Barboza vs. Anthony Njokuani
* Ricardo Almeida vs. Mike Pyle
* Kurt Pellegrino vs. Gleison Tibau
Despite good performances by Swank and Morgan plus a very nice direction, good production values and cinematography, this movie is just sort of one big long feeling of deja vu. It's the screenplay that drags this down.
There's no twist or suspense really, you know right away what's going on and who is doing it so it just follows along that path until it ends pretty much exactly like you'd expect.
There's pretty much zero character development of the protagonist so you never really get any insight into what makes him click. He just does what he does. Morgan is good, but is dealt little depth to work with. Swank, a great actress, has the same fate. She just get partially naked occasionally and acts confused and scared a few times. That's seriously wasted talent. Speaking of wasted talent, Christopher Lee is in it but is totally wasted also with just a few minutes of screen time.
Overall, it's a watchable film but instantly forgettable with nothing remotely new or surprising.
Friday, March 18, 2011
Synopsis: A man hires a kid to drive a legendary country singer to two concerts. Based on the last few days of Hank Williams' life.
Sounds a bit like Get Him To The Greek, but with no Russell Brand and if Aldous Snow didn't actually make it to the show. Plus very old cars.
Jesse James plays the young driver and the very lovely Kaley Cuoco from The Big Bang Theory has a role. Check out the trailer:
And for good measure, a sexy photo of Kaley. Grrrr baby.
0:01 Happy Birthday, Lisa
0:32 Baby on Board
0:57 The Monorail Song
1:26 We Do (The Stonecutters' Song)
2:00 We're Talkin' Softball
2:37 Who Needs the Qwik-E-Mart?
3:03 Mr. Plow
PSA: Ben Stiller Speaks Out Against Shaken Manchild Syndrome
Thursday, March 17, 2011
Pure rap gold my friends...
The House Of Pain's the name of my clique
You can't be down, punk, get off my d%#@
You make me sick, like strawberry Quik
Your style is wack, you ain't the mac
So yo step back, get off the crack
And sing a new tune like boom sha lock lock boom
House Of Pain - Shamrocks And Shenanigans by vlna
I would also like to go on record as saying I personally enjoy strawberry Quik.
So rock this! Sainte!
Wednesday, March 16, 2011
Tuesday, March 15, 2011
"I live. I love. I slay...I am content." - Conan The Barbarian
Aren't we all?
In theaters August 19, 2011
The most legendary Barbarian of all time is back this Summer. Having thrived and evolved for eight consecutive decades in the public imagination- in prose and graphics, on the big screen and small, in games and properties of all kinds- Conan's exploits in the Hyborian Age now come alive like never before in a colossal 3D action-adventure film.
A quest that begins as a personal vendetta for the fierce Cimmerian warrior soon turns into an epic battle against hulking rivals, horrific monsters, and impossible odds, as Conan realizes he is the only hope of saving the great nations of Hyboria from an encroaching reign of supernatural evil.
Deftly adapted from the original works of Robert E. Howard and faithful to the mythology and psychology of his iconic character, CONAN THE BARBARIAN stars Jason Momoa, Rachel Nichols, Stephen Lang, Ron Perlman and Rose McGowan, and is directed by Marcus Nispel.
Monday, March 14, 2011
Perfect timing for the new video, "Rope", which is the first single off their upcoming 7th studio CD, "Wasting Light". It is set to be released on April 12, 2011, and is the band's first album in almost four years.
It's been since "Doom" in 2005 that The Rock has been in what I'd call an action flick. He's been family movies, acted like a tooth fairy, worn a tu-tu and been a straight man to Steve Carrell. Some with good results, some with bad... but it's definitely good to see Dwayne Johnson back in full-throttle action mode.
At least I thought it would be "full-throttle"... it's more "half-throttle" maybe. There's some action and violence for sure, but not a huge amount by any means. The movie tries to develope 3 big, fairly complex characters throughout, but I'm not sure it really developed any of the 3 enough. I should say they all could be fairly complex, but end up sort of one-dimensional. I understand that though, as you can't have something labeled as an action flick running too long. They do enough character development for the 3 characters though and leave rest up to your imagination. Billy Bob Thorton and Oliver Jackson-Cohen are both excellent, but The Rock was really just asked to be The Rock more than do any real acting. That subtracts a bit.
It feels like an action/revenge movie right out of the 70s, complete with all the stereotypical characters and formula, and I don't necessarily mean that in a bad way. It's got that gritty feel to it and the direction is sort of frenetic at times. It gives the film a nice edge and ups the intensity and viciousness.
You'll get your very tyipcal "twist" and there's some pretty heavy-handed, dumbed down morality about redemption and forgiveness at play as well here (which feels almost like a parody at times), but I think in the end what I'll take home from it is all the ass-kickings. And that's what I missed from The Rock anyway.
Here's the whole bit:
Sunday, March 13, 2011
A very thought-provoking look at the war from the inside, told by the soldiers that were there. This is a very moving, emotional version of reality TV. The cameras put you right there where the soldiers are working, playing and dying. You are so right in the middle of the action that I found myself nervous and almost ducked a few times. Then there are the same sort of "confessionals" you see on most horrible reality TV shows, but they mean so much more coming from brave heroes who fight for freedom other than attention-seeking, fake-tan, wannabe TV stars talking about who they drunkenly plowed the night before.
During the scenes of fighting, the camera focused more on the soldiers and their actions than on the actual bloodshed and action. I'm sure partially because they wanted the human side of the story instead of turning it into a bloody war film, but probably also because during the intense battle scenes the men operating the cameras didn't want to get blown apart. There are real bullets flying and real injuries happening.
There's also no political agenda to this movie. It's just the story of the platoon fighting the war. You can hear the stories and thoughts and make your own conclusions here with what you are given.
Watching it made me want to thank every veteran I see because I'm sure there are thousands of platoons with thousands of stories like this one. It's pretty sad that I need a reminder occasionally of how brave some people are and who are willing to put their lives on the line for this country and ideals, but I just kept thinking about that while watching these guys, mostly in their 20s, struggle with their words and obvious mental anguish that they'll probably live with for the rest of their lives. While I'm sitting around watching movies and reviewing them on a blog.
Personally I can't wait as not only do I love their music but I find Grohl to be one of the coolest, most interesting people in rock. If you don't believe me, spend some time between now and April 5th checking out not only Nirvana and Foo Fighters but also Queens of the Stone Age, Them Crooked Vultures and the awesome Probot CD from back in 2004.
Here's a quick preview of the documentary: