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6/15/2005

FILM FLAM
We caught Mr. and Ms. Smith at our weekly jaunt to the drive in. Unless youíve been living in a cave youíre aware than Brad and Jen parted ways during the shooting of this film and Angelina is rumored to be the cause, so the film has gotten a ton of tabloid-style press. I feared something along the Gigli lines but I like both Brad and Angelina and Iím an action/spy/comedy movie fan so I went into it with high hopes, but low expectations.
As an action/spy movie it ainít all that great. Thereís nothing new or terribly imaginative about their shoot-outs and the competing spy organizations look like something off of Spy Kids rather than James Bond.
But this is no simple action flick. Itís really an allegorical story about relationships. They begin as strangers with lies covering their past misdeeds and flaws. This creates distance between them, landing them in therapy where their relationship sounds less than perfect under close inspection. Their passive aggressive interactions hit a bit too close to home for me, causing me to alternately wince or giggle. After they come clean with each other they learn to respect each other and know each other in ways that they couldnít approach before. Then they go out and face the world as true partners. It sounds like a movie I wouldnít watch at gunpoint, but with all the guns blazing on screen I was suckered into enjoying it Ė a lot.
One scene in particular stuck with me - Brad and Angelina are battling the bad guys together in a big department store, blasting away at charging foes. They slip into an elevator and thereís a moment of calm while the ever-present Girl from Ipanema plays over the speakers. They brace themselves for another wave of attacks as the elevator gets to the next floor. I couldnít help but think of the countless times Iíve followed my partner into the mall and braced for the onslaught of the cosmetics counter attackers (and what Iíd like to do in response.)
Thereís not a lot of subtlety, but the heavy handedness works thanks to the action/comedy theme. Angelina doesnít do much acting, but Brad has a few moments where only a glance or a raised eyebrow got the crowd giggling. Itís a fine slightly-more-than-brainless summer flick perfect for the drive in.

EAR PLUGS
Weíve had some CDís sitting in our To Do stack for a while. Weíve been busy up until last weekend when we sat around doing nothing all weekend, thanks to the sporadic rain and multiple festivals around town. But life has settled back into mostly routine, for better or worse, so Iím digging out forgotten recordings Iím supposed to have reviewed a month ago.
The Jupiter Watts have a new CD, Let It Lie. Itís pretty good low key rock. Fuzzy guitar, soft vocals, sort of a Pearl Jam quality to it here and there. Their press kit says ďWhile we love the well-crafted guitar pop song, we also try Ė true to our name Ė to keep faith in space, hence our affinity for repetition and lots of woozy tremolo.Ē
I donít personally have any faith in space. I think the cosmos is a void where at any moment a wandering asteroid could split this planet in half. But I hear what they mean about repetition and woozy tremolo. This music would be a good soundtrack for a marijuana rally. Itís also good stuff to have on my computer at work where Iím doing mindless repetitive tasks. But it breaks from the almost-groovy repetition into some almost-grungy rock from time to time, just enough to keep me from getting bored.
No, thatís not exactly a strong testimonial. This didnít excite me. But itís nice.
For more, see www.thejupiterwatts.com

We also got a CD from Jeff Black, Tin Lily. I canít bear putting it back in the CD player to give it a detailed review. I tried to listen to it a couple of weeks ago and felt mildly nauseous after only a few minutes. Now Iím not brave enough to try it again. Maybe after a cup of coffee. I remember it being folky singer-songwriter stuff thatís so honest I had to skip forward past a few tracks. This is the kind of music that contributed to a breakup between me and degenerate AA several years ago. I couldnít stand this kind of stuff, she loves it. So Iíll send it to her and maybe sheíll write a review.
Sorry, Jeff!


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