Richard Brody – “Everything Is Cinema: The Working Life of Jean-Luc Godard” (2008)

September 30, 2011 at 9:38 pm (Cinema, French New Wave, Reviews & Articles)

Another review of this massive biography on the life of famed French New Wave director Jean-Luc Godard — this time by Salon senior writer Stephanie Zacharek from The New York Times, July 13, 2008… 

A Girl and a Gun

Richard Brody’s Everything Is Cinema: The Working Life of Jean-Luc Godard is a story of transformation, a painstaking account of a lifelong artistic journey. Now we know how one of the greatest of all filmmakers — the man who so radically changed cinema in 1959 with his debut feature, Breathless — became an intolerable gasbag. That probably wasn’t Brody’s aim in writing this exhaustive, and sometimes exhausting, critical biography. As Brody, a film critic and editor at The New Yorker, makes clear in the preface, he still believes in Godard’s relevance, claiming that the resolutely not-retired filmmaker, who has lived in Rolle, Switzerland, for the past 30 years, continues to work “at an extraordinarily high level of artistic achievement.”

That’s a lovely, optimistic sentiment, but one that much of Godard’s post-1967 output doesn’t deserve: Empty shadowboxes like First Name: Carmen (1983) or Notre Musique (2004) seem designed to alienate viewers rather than draw them closer, which is what happens when any artist begins to live entirely inside his or her own head. It’s the artists we love best who are most capable of disappointing us, and anyone who has taken pleasure in the boldness of the movies Godard made from 1959 through 1967 — he produced an astonishing 15 full-length features in that period, beginning Read the rest of this entry »

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Glen Campbell – “Ghost on the Canvas” (2011)

September 28, 2011 at 11:17 pm (Music, Reviews & Articles)

Another look at Glen Campbell’s final album. He definitely goes out with a bang with this personal and heartfelt song cycle looking back at his life. 
This review comes from the Hitfix website, Aug. 29th, and written by Melinda Newman…

Glen Campbell’s Searing, Soaring Send-off

Ghost on the Canvas is Glen Campbell’s album of a lifetime…literally.

The stunning set, out Aug. 30, reflects on the multiple Grammy winner’s career and times often through the prism of his life-altering diagnosis of Alzheimer’s Disease. The 75-year old announced he had the disease earlier this year and that Ghost on the Canvas would be his final album. He starts a goodbye tour later this fall.

Without ever skirting the dire future he now faces, Campbell and producer/co-writer Julian Raymond, have made a poignant, often breathtakingly vulnerable album that never wallows in pity, and despite its very strong profession of faith, never seems pollyanna-ish. It’s Campbell’s equivalent of Johnny Cash/Rick Rubin’s American Recordings.  Even if you’re too young to have ever given Glen Campbell a second thought, Ghost on the Canvas is worth every repeated listen and, in fact, should be a Grammy contender for album of the year.

On album opener “A Better Place” Campbell sings “Sometimes I’m so confused Lord, my past gets in my way. I need the ones I love, Lord, more and more each day.” Read the rest of this entry »

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President Obama’s Weekly Address (Sept. 24, 2011)

September 28, 2011 at 6:19 am (Life & Politics)

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R.E.M. – “Orange Crush” (Video – 1988)

September 23, 2011 at 4:12 pm (Music, R.E.M.)

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R.E.M. – “Fables of the Reconstruction” (1985)

September 22, 2011 at 3:56 pm (Music, R.E.M., Reviews & Articles)

With R.E.M. now “retired” we look back to their early days, in honor of their greatness. This review of their third album comes from The Washington Post, June 13, 1985 by Joe Sassy…

There is an ominous, reverberating guitar figure opening the first side of the new R.E.M. album Fables of the Reconstruction (IRS-5592) that, like the creepy theme to Perry Mason, is a bone-chilling introduction to mystery. Even granting lead singer Michael Stipe his characteristic burry unintelligibility, the third album from this much-heralded Georgia quartet asserts its musical magic on terms darker and more elusive than ever.

Eschewing radio-tailored accessibility and immediacy, Fables of the Reconstruction unfolds a dense and colorful rock tapestry, every bit as involving as a riddle with no solution. Traveling to England to work with producer Joe Boyd represents a significant change in R.E.M.’s typical southern recording strategy. Boyd, known for his work with Celtic rocker Richard Thompson, has deepened the band’s sound, moving it from its cheerier folk-rock heritage toward the more foreboding temper of Celtic culture and mythology.

The few explicit production touches Boyd does provide — the violins ending “Feeling Gravity’s Pull,” the fat soul horns that fade out “Can’t Get There from Here” and the plucky banjo coursing through “Wendell Gee” Read the rest of this entry »

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President Obama’s Weekly Address (Sept. 17, 2011)

September 21, 2011 at 8:40 pm (Life & Politics)

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R.E.M. Breaks Up After Three Decades

September 21, 2011 at 1:44 pm (Music, R.E.M., Reviews & Articles)

Sad and surprising news to report…

Legendary Rock Band Have “Called It a Day”

R.E.M. announced today that they have broken up after 31 years together. “As lifelong friends and co-conspirators, we have decided to call it a day as a band,” the band said in a statement on their official website. “We walk away with a great sense of gratitude, of finality, and of astonishment at all we have accomplished.”

In just over three decades as a band, R.E.M. released 15 albums including landmark works such as Murmur, Reckoning, Document, Out of Time and Automatic For the People. The band’s final album, Collapse Into Now, was released in March of this year. The band have plans to release a career-spanning greatest hits collection later this year, which will include a handful of new songs finished after the band completed Collapse Into Now. Read the rest of this entry »

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Tony Bennett and Amy Winehouse – “Body and Soul” (2011)

September 17, 2011 at 7:51 pm (Music)

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The Arrows – “I Love Rock ‘n Roll” (1975)

September 17, 2011 at 12:21 pm (Music)

The original version of the song that Joan Jett later turned into a classic. This was produced by legendary ’60s producer Mickie Most.

The original version of the song that Joan Jett later turned into a classic.

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Glen Campbell – “Ghost on the Canvas” (Radio Edit – 2011)

September 15, 2011 at 7:09 am (Music)

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