Monday, March 31, 2008

Mental Break

I'm not sure why I've been so de-motivated, blog-wise, lately.
I think I'll blame the continuing lack of spring-time around here. Coming back from Austin, where it was 33 C out (resulting in my first sunburn of the season), and having another couple weeks of bleary cold weather is kind of depressing.
This Thursday though - I can feel the approach of spring. You can mark it down. Thursday is officially no-pants day.

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Mental Note

Next time I go on holiday, must remember to book an extra day off when I get back to recover...

Also must remember - never come back from holiday on St Patrick's day...

Fucking Irish!

Friday, March 14, 2008

SXSW the third

With over 1500 bands and 80 venues it makes it hard to know who to try and catch here. That said - there's no excuse not to be listening to music pretty much from the time you wake up till the time you drag yourself back to bed.
Stand outs so far:
REM put on a very good show - not in my top 10 favorite shows of all time, but I'm really glad I've now seen them.
The Blow - more performance art than music - that girl was mesmerizing in a I-can't-believe-what-I'm-seeing kind of way.
Islands - fantastic, epic, theatrical. Not to be missed if you get the chance.
Tim Fite - like a maniacal baptist preacher, mixing performance art with rock and roll. Stunningly weird.
The Weakerthans - it's been probably 5 years since I've seen them and man are they sounding good now - some good ole canadian boys.
DeVotchKa - gypsy music done right. Looking to woo someone, this is the music for you.
Billy Bragg - his usually inspirational combative self.
Pinetop Perkins - a legendary Chicago blues man - still has the chops.

Countless others I've seen a song or two in passing walking passed the bars on 6th street. I'm definitely going to be busy on iTunes when I get home.

Thursday, March 13, 2008

SXSW part deux

Capsule movie reviews...coming soon to a theatre near you.

21: About some MIT kids and their professor who have a system to beat Vegas at Blackjack. I remember really liking the story when I first heard about it - unfortunately the movie didn't quite live up to my expectations. The action scenes didn't quite work for me and the movie's pacing wasn't quite right. Still - entertaining. 6.5/10

Run Fatboy Run: Simon Pegg trying to get back in shape to win back his girl. Although the filming got switched from New York to London, the humour only half got translated between american and english. Some parts were a little too 'hollywood' for me. Still - Simon Pegg is hilarious and makes up for any shortcomings in the script. 7/10

Forgetting Sarah Marshall. Another comedy along the lines of 40 year old virgin or Superbad - neither of which I thought were great, so I didn't have any expectations for this one but I was pleasantly surprised. One of the funniest movies I've seen in a long time. Jason Segel does a great job - and if you like musicals about Dracula - well, this movie is for you. 8.5/10

Battle for Seattle. Unfortunately I saw this after Forgetting Sarah Marshall. Boy did I do that in the wrong order. This movie is a fictionalized account of the WTO riots in Seattle in 1999. Terrifically shot movie, but depressing when you realize how little has changed with the world since then. 8/10

Second Skin. A documentary look into people addicted to MMO (massively multiplayer online games). Amusing, but I just find the people in the movie who blame games for their problems kind of sad (not that that was the central thesis of the movie). Maybe I'm biased about stuff like this, but I think an addictive personality is going to find an outlet no matter what. I think the problem lies deeper than the games. 6/10

Frontrunners. An amusing documentary following a SU election in an elite high school in New York. It tried to mirror some of the issues you might see in the larger elections in the states - race, personality vs issues. Not a bad movie, but not as good or amusing as some of the other documentaries of this type from the last couple years (the movie about scrabble players, the movie about spelling bees). 6.5/10

Joy Division. A documentary looking back on the life of this seminal punk band. Quite good - kept me interested in a band I didn't know. The surviving members of this band went on to form New Order, if that name might be more familiar to you. A good period piece on Manchester in the late 70's. 6.5/10

Monday, March 10, 2008

SXSW part 1

The first half of SXSW is almost over. Music starts on Wednesday. I've made it to four movies so far with a few star sightings at some of the premieres. Contrary to certain unreliable french sources, Kristen Bell is not 'chunky' - still smokin hot.

It's always good to be on the road. Didn't take me one day before vacation mode kicked in - the old 'have-no-idea-what-day-of-the-week-it-is' feeling. That coupled with exploring a new city has made for a fun few days.

Bring on the bands...