Friday, May 30, 2008

It's Always Sunny In Philadelphia - Television Review

This is my first television review. There's obviously some good stuff on television from the Simpson's to the Sundance Channel, Discovery, History and A&E. But this is the first time I've reviewed a series. How I Met Your Mother, Rules of Engagement, Two and a Half Men, Rescue Me, The Riches, Weeds, and old reruns of Hawaii Five -O - keep me well entertained. But this freakin' show is hilarious. I can't believe how funny Sunny in Philly is for a live action sketch comedy. I hope this comes back for a few more seasons and continues a long, long run.

The steroid eating on the season 1&2 disc is hysterical and even the commentary on the discs extra features is a complete crack up. Charlie rules of course but Mac is understated mayhem. The whole mistaken gay bar bit is a riot. The players are all characters. You know how in Friends they had the dumb one, the pretty one, the obsessive one, the quirky one and the nerdy one, all one dimensional and that series was a hit (??). Well the characters here are all characters and there is nothing one dimensional about any of them. They all get turns being outlandish and playing it straight and delivering the money lines. This is what I want and I can not wait until season four starts in September. Kudos for FX giving the writers full reign to create and do their thing. This show is a blast!

Lets give a shout out to the writer/actors Charlie (Charlie Day), Mac (Rob McElhenney), Dennis (Glenn Howerton), and Dee (Kaitlin Olson) and of course Danny DeVito. Danny may have found himself a new "Taxi" to ride! What a riot read the outstanding reviews on amazon at the link above and rent it from NetFlix. You'll want to buy it for your collection after that.

Here's the Wikipedia Link

Thursday, May 29, 2008

Ray Davies Other Peoples Lives - Music Review

I waited a while to purchase this CD because of some bogus reviews (and budget of course). Well without leaving you in suspense this is a great disc. I read a bunch of insipid comments about the lyrics weren't tricky enough - here's a reminder you negative dopes - this man rhymed Lola and cola and you loved it - and you should.

In Ray's latest effort there are plenty of sonic delights. The production is stellar, the energy is up and direct and Ray...well hearing Ray's voice again is a sheer delight. Now I'm not a hard core Kinks fan and you don't have to be to enjoy this album. Archetypal themes mix with Rays wit and salty mind set to produce a rather surprising disc. In fact I'm surprised by how much I really like this batch of tunes. It starts out rockin' and then the third song bounces in with a very Kink like tune, a bouncy theme that runs counter with the look at yourself lyrics. I've always loved how Ray makes a song sound all light and airy while the lyrics paint a different story, but in the end still hopeful.

Well done Ray!

There's a lot going on here - different styles of music at once edgy, rockin', folky, satirical, spacey, acoustic, humor. In other words it doesn't sound all the same cut after cut. Welcome back Ray and for the uber fans lighten up. His lyrics are just fine and as insightful, hopeful and honest as ever. This is a big boy record by a man, and completely accessible to all. You don't have to know about the Kinks or even like them to appreciate this disc. It's well worth the buy! Stand Up Comic is a hoot and it rocks...and that's that!

Currently listening :
Other People's Lives
By Ray Davies
Release date: 2006-02-21

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Interstate 60 - Movie Review

Interstate 60 is another off the beaten track movie I can recommend. From one of the co-producers/writers of the "Back To The Future" movies it has that same sort of essence, visual feel to it and pure popcorn entertainment value, but with an interesting thread of a message, and some outrageous characters. It's been a while since I've seen the movie but there are plenty of twists and turns to keep you interested. It has an outstanding group of actors who star in and make cameo's and that keeps the element of the movie fresh. A typical road story about a road that doesn't exist it has a certain smartness to it that Gary Oldman and Chris Cooper bring to every movie. The subject matter may not be entirely suitable for the pre-teens (a little racier than the Back To The Future movies) and it is not nor is it trying to be Citizen Kane. Rent it from Net Flix. It's great light entertainment that may actually do it for you if you let it.

Interstate 60

Tuesday, May 06, 2008

Out of Order - Movie Review

It's gushing time - I loved this movie. Eric Stoltz plays the lead character so well and understated. Felicity Huffman digs down deep and delivers the goods on a very difficult part. Kim Dickens also does an excellent job and has a quiet dignity about her. Justine Bateman plays it to the hilt and we love her for it. All the acting is top notch, subtle, not over the top. This is an adult film about adult problems and adult situations directed by adults but not so maudlin it doesn't have a sense of humor about itself and it's protagonist and characters. The actual film shooting, camera work and the way the director moves you through time into the past and back again is artful and imaginative and a complete no-brainer. This is a great movie I loved each and every aspect of it. The ending is a knock out to the solar plexus. It brought about a sense of joy and longing and affirmation that is too often blunted. This is a movie about selfishness, anger, hurt, perseverance, hope, love, lust, ambition, opportunity and opportunity lost. It is all here and the amazing thing is that this was a Showtime mini series from 2003. What has been released is the pilot. I was amazed at the passion and backlash at only releasing the pilot by the fans. I guess the other four episodes were just as gut wrenching and fulfilling. Not knowing any of this I watched this as a stand alone movie - and it delivered the goods.

You won't be disappointed - as far as people not getting this movie - have a heart - we should all be so lucky and count your blessings!

Out of Order Reviews at Amazon

Friday, May 02, 2008

Arturo O'Farrill

I have been meaning to write about Arturo for a while but every time I do I put on one of his CD's and start listening. Well I can't help it his playing just rifles along in bouncy rhythms that disguise the effort. The man can play and well writing about playing is very difficult especially when listening. Afro-Cuban Jazz I guess if you are going to label something that's as good a name as any. I would throw out the phrase World Jazz, or describe it as jazz with an island sensibility. Calypso meets Swing meets Coltrane. It doesn't matter the music has heart and a real sense of joy. His father (also Arturo) was an innovator but over looked by the establishment. Well the establishment is a bunch of small minded idiots protecting their own turf. So they suck and who cares what they think. Now a days more enlightened individuals (thank you Wynton Marsalis) have opened doors for Arturo. His Afro-Latin Jazz Orchestra performs at the Lincoln Center in NY as a regular gig, and all over the world.

I'm not really sure how I stumbled into his work. Pulling on the Buena Vista Social Club string I probably came across his recording Night in Tunisia and well I'm hooked. This is not unaccessible music and the Brazilian and Santa Domingo influences from Latin America are here as well as the mellow classic jazz lines of Monk and Mcoy Tyner, and even shades of Vince Guaraldi very, very nice. It is a wide musical landscape played very tastefully.

Music is gumbo and Arturo is a world renowned chef - and so now you know - dig in and enjoy - hot and spicy, cool and mellow and it swings - it's all here.

Play the strings of discovery here and here!