Sunday, 9 March 2008

reviewing.

Beck - the Information
Ok, so I've only listened to this one once, and I bought it six months ago, and didn't get around to it until a week ago. And Beck does tend to be reasonably dense, so maybe reviewing it on one spin (and one spin whilst jogging at that) is unfair. But I don't think this album is his best work. The interesting thing about Beck normally is all the lovely layers to the music which creep out from behind a big fat hook. This album seems really pared back and like it's focussing on the lyrics... except that it's Beck, and it's rare that the lyrics even make sense, let alone convey anything meaningful. It's quite possible that I'm missing something, but I'm rather unconvinced at this stage. And unconvinced enough not to bother further, probably...I'll wait and see how he reinvents himself next time.

Scisscor Sisters - TaDah
Bought this on sale at the Virgin Megastore here...heh. I really like this album - it's nice and fat and 70s disco but without being too cheesy. Well...not TOO cheesy anyway. The lyrics are deliciously angry (well appreciated at the moment), but mostly so ironic and hilarious that when coupled with the disco feel you get pulled into a good mood rather than a bad one. There's some killer lines too - although Molly, you'll be pleased to hear that I'm singing 'push the walls and testify' every time. That being said, I can't seem to get past tracks 1 and 3, which even if you assume it's a great album with a couple of outstanding songs, does still mean that it's not a very consistent album; the kind of album that you can break up into parts that are worth more than the whole.

Radiohead - In Rainbows
Ok, so I know I said I was going to review this soon, but I tried listening to it and just can't do it. Not because it's no good...other reasons entirely which I won't go into here. Anyway though, I was chatting to someone in my class who said it's his favourite since OK Computer, and the 10 minutes that I got into it convinced me that although it's still quite electro and repetitive like the last couple, they seem to have gotten back into lyrical again thank God. So I am provisionally giving this a thumbs up, but there's not a lot of grounding for that, so maybe one day I will come back to it.

Jasper Fforde - The Fourth Bear
Yes, ok, yet another Jasper Fforde filler. This was the last thing I bought in Australia - at the Adelaide airport when I realised I'd forgotten a book for the plane. I didn't read it on the plane, but I've read a little each night before bed to remind myself that, yes, I am actually capable of comprehending the written word. In one language at least. I quite liked this one. The premise isn't as strong as the Eyre Affair books, but then by the last one I thought that had been stretched way too thin anyway. This was nice and clean and self-contained. Witty and enjoyable without being too clever or taking itself too seriously. In hindsight, would've been a good aeroplane choice after all.

Sweeney Todd
So I knew this movie was going to be dark and violent, but I didn't realise quite how depressing the story is. It's one of those 'goodness doesn't exist, all love is doomed, stop bothering now and save yourself the pain' kind of stories. Just what I needed. Still. I think it was well done. I'm not a big Tim Burton fan, because he puts his own creepy stamp on everything which is not always welcome (Charlie and the Chocolate Factory anyone?), but in this case I think it actually worked, since it's a pretty gruesome tale anyway. I was a bit worried about all the violence, as I don't have a strong stomach for that, but it was actually pretty caricatured so it really wasn't the upsetting part of this movie in the end. The lyrics and the music are unsurprisingly clever from Sondheim, and it's been re-orchestrated by that guy who does all of Sondheim's orchestration (can't remember the name now...) and it sounds great with a full orchestra. Johnny Depp can sing surprisingly well, Helena Bonham Carter surprisingly can't, and Sacha Baron Cohen is well cast but believe it or not doesn't ham it up enough.

No Country for Old Men
The new Coen brothers movie. I really should've thought about the fact that this was going to be depressing too, but didn't. Ai. UGC langue d'origin (anglais) - could you please show some fluff? Maybe a (non-rom) comedy or something? Ok Coen brothers movies are usually pretty violent and bizarre, but they're usually pretty funny too, and this one was not. It's the story of a man who stumbles upon a drug deal gone wrong and makes off with a suitcase full of money. He then spends the rest of the film trying to keep out of reach of those who want it back. It's a compelling story, but in the end that's not what's interesting about it and you leave not really caring that a lot of things aren't resolved. I think I've finally figured out the point of these movies though - they're not about plot, they're about the characters. Although it's a reasonably fast paced film (especially at times), it's actually very spacious and elegant and I think it reflects the simultaneous simplicity and complexity of people, and life in general.

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the donG said...

wow. thanks for the reviews. really good insights.

Molly said...

I agree with you on Sweeney Todd, Em. I was expecting dark & violent too, but I was a bit shocked by exactly how bloody it was and how utterly despairing the plot was. I had this feeling like I was aware that I was watching a well constructed film, but I just did NOT enjoy it at all. Except for the part where they're imagining themselves at the beach, which i thought was a bit cute, if cheesy and a tad weird. But as you said, it's Tim Burton, of COURSE it's going to be weird!

Heidi said...

I'm *totally* with you on Tim Burton and Willy Wonka...It was already creepy in the old version and after the new version I feel there directors who should not be given Roald Dahl stories for fear of them becoming completely inaccessible by children for off-the-chart-scariness factors... Okay. Rant over now. Love the look of the coconut macaron too! xxx