Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Album Review: Soundtrack For 'Inside Llewyn Davis' Is Folky Gold Mine.

First the Coen Brothers, Joel and Ethan, brought in a sweeping new audience for bluegrass and traditional American roots music with the Grammy-winning soundtrack for "O Brother, Where Art Thou?" Thirteen years later, and working again with T-Bone Burnett, comes the movie and the accompanying soundtrack to "Inside Llewyn Davis," an album that could spark a resurgence in folk music with new recordings to fit the film's early-'60s Greenwich Village setting.

Starring Oscar Isaac as the title character, "Inside Llewyn Davis" explores the trials and tribulations of Llewyn as he tries to make a solo career for himself from the baskethouses of the Village to Chicago. Carey Mulligan, Justin Timberlake, Adam Driver and Stark Sands also star in the film, lending their own voices for live performances in the film and the soundtrack recordings.

Album review: 'Artpop'- 2013: A Gaga Odyssey

In the two-and-a-half years since her last album Born This Way, Lady Gaga must have watched Stanley Kubrick's "2001: A Space Odyssey" and "A Clockwork Orange" on repeat for a long while. For starters, on the Artpop album cover she looks like one of the sculptures of the girls in the Korovo Milk Bar, and the album on the whole sounds like it's a voyage to space, to a faraway planet where dance music rules and inhibitions are left at the door.

Artpop is Gaga's weirdest, most experimental album to date, and it shows the "progression" she has made from party girl to all out crazy girl playing with all of the knobs in the studio. Since her first album, The Fame, came out five years, she's donned more personas than Roger from "American Dad!" On Artpop, Gaga takes us through her own musical stargate sequence as she tries to find herself, and it's not the most pleasant journey.

Monday, November 11, 2013

Movie Review: '12 Years a Slave' Run-Of-The-Mill Slavery Movie

Chiwetel Ejiofor as Solomon Northup has his last meal as a free man in "12 Years a Slave."

“12 Years a Slave” has received universal acclaim, but what else would you expect from a historical drama like this? For one, it exploits a painful time in the country’s history, and two, it makes a hero out of a normal person. Look at “Schindler’s List,” “Sophie Scholl: The Final Days,” and even last year’s “Lincoln.” All three films were showered with praise for doing just that.
This is exactly what I was hoping Steve McQueen wouldn’t do with “12 Years,” but I was wrong. The English auteur threw out his signature raw style for a convenient and rudimentary way of telling a story we’ve seen time and again.