Nine Inch Nails & Jane’s Addiction live at Jones Beach, June 7, 2009

STREET SWEEPER SOCIAL CLUB Street Sweeper Social Club, the new band formed by Rage Against the Machine guitarist Tom Morello, opened. Their badass cover of M.I.A.’s “Paper Planes” was a highlight. NINE INCH NAILS It felt wrong somehow to see a band as moody and dark as Nine Inch Nails play while the sun was […]

The Tenuous Border Between Merely Scraping By and True Poverty: Courtney Hunt’s Frozen River

The title of Courtney Hunt’s suspenseful Frozen River refers to both a literal body of water separating countries, and to the tenuous border between merely scraping by and true poverty. Melissa Leo was rightly praised last year for her performance as Ray, a woman struggling to support two boys in upstate New York. Her family […]

Set Phasers to Awesome: J.J. Abrams reboots Star Trek

Like the 1966 Corvette a reckless young James Tiberius Kirk commandeers in an early sequence, the new Star Trek is precision-crafted for speed, sex appeal, and total awesomeness. Kirk launches that beautiful machine off a cliff, but thankfully director J.J. Abrams never does the same with the movie. Star Trek (the first in the franchise […]

Mutant Mayhem: Bryan Singer’s X-Men

On a whim, this blogger decided to rewatch X-Men and found it surprisingly good, even better than I remembered from my first viewing almost 10 years ago. I used to be a comics fan, and read most of Chris Claremont and John Romita Jr.’s lengthy run on The Uncanny X-Men series in the mid-80s. Even […]

Mogwai live at The Music Hall of Williamsburg, April 2009

The Scottish instrumental rock outfit Mogwai earned their reputation in part for sheer volume, like My Bloody Valentine and The Who before them. Their music is also notable for exploring the kinds of extreme dynamics you usually only hear in electronica or progressive rock, wholly unlike the fatiguing constant loudness of most pop, punk, and […]

A Vampire’s Secret Daily Toil: Låt den rätte komma in (Let the Right One In)

Let the Right One In (Låt den rätte komma in) is unapologetically a vampire story. It follows most of the rules of the genre but avoids the standard trappings of spectacular bloodletting (like, say, Blade) and simplistic sexual metaphors (we’re looking at you, Twilight). Director Tomas Alfredson and screenwriter John Ajvide (adapting his own novel) […]

Sally Hawkins Finds a New Opportunity in Every Setback in Mike Leigh’s Happy-Go-Lucky

Poppy (Sally Hawkins) is a creature rarely encountered in movies and even less in real life: someone genuinely happy. She’s not bothered by others’ life goals; at 30, she doesn’t have a baby or a boyfriend, own a house, or know how to drive. Relentlessly chipper, upbeat, and outgoing, she’s best friends with her roommate […]

Everyone is Just Visiting in Thomas McCarthy’s The Visitor

The Visitor is the excellent sophomore effort from Thomas McCarthy, writer/director of The Station Agent (2003). The disgustingly talented McCarthy is also an accomplished actor, most recently appearing as a corporate espionage agent in Tony Gilroy’s Duplicity and as a plagiarizing journalist in The Wire. Walter Vale (Richard Jenkins) is a political science professor at […]

On the Run from Johnny Law in Wes Anderson’s Bottle Rocket

Wes Anderson and co-writer Owen Wilson’s feature debut is based on their 1992 short film of the same name. Like Kevin Smith’s Clerks and Quentin Tarantino’s Reservoir Dogs, Bottle Rocket is Anderson’s ur text. His signature style is already fully present: meticulously constructed of primary colors, written in torrents of words, and shot perpendicularly against […]

David Byrne, Live at Radio City Music Hall, February 28, 2009

David Byrne and Brian Eno, both Dork Report favorites, collaborated extensively between 1978-1980. Many of these classic albums have passed into the musical canon, most especially Talking Heads’ Remain in Light (1980) and My Life in the Bush of Ghosts (1981). I believe there are some lingering rumors of interpersonal friction, certainly within the four […]

%d bloggers like this: