Sunday, July 29, 2012

Best music video of the year:

I laughed. I drooled. I clicked replay.

Friday, July 27, 2012

Vile Nostalgia: Blink 182

Haters no longer Hating
When I was a young teenage lad I listened to whatever was played on the radio. Hailing from Southern California, that meant a lot of Blink-182. I got their 2nd album Dude Ranch sometime in the late 90's and thought it was pretty rocking...
...that is, until I become a snobby little metal head.

(Ed. Note: How hot was Alyssa Milano in that video?!?! Daaaaaamn. Also, lol @ Miller's Outpost era clothes/fashion!).

Once I entered high school and started digging classic from Slayer, Death, Sepultura and new bands (well, new at the time...fuck I'm old) like Lamb of God and Hatebreed, I stopped enjoying the feel good zany pop rock of bands like Blink-182. Also, this was around the time they got big with their album Enema of The State, where they went from heroes of the alternative rock airwaves, to champions of MTV's TRL video countdown. Basically, all the girls and cool kids in school started liking them so you know, I couldn't have any part of that man!

Well, the times they have a changed. Now I'm old and cranky. I've pretty much melted my brain listening to some of the most fucked up technically challenging/chaotic noise the underground metal world can churn out. Now I hear an old Blink-182 song on the radio I don't turn away in disgust, quite the contrary, I turn that sucker up louder! Part nostalgia, for simpler times when worry about a lame band's popularity seem so important, and partially just honest enjoyment of catchy jams that are actually pleasing to the ear, I now renounce my hatred for Blink-182 and welcome with open arms into my VILE NOSTALGIA collection.

Thursday, July 26, 2012

The Master trailer

With all the hoopla surrounding The Dark Knight Rises and the subsequent tragedy in Colorado this past week, some people might not be aware that the first full theatrical trailer for Paul Thomas Anderson's new film, The Master, was released last Thursday as well.

Boogie Nights, Magnolia, Punch Drunk Love, There Will Be's safe to say Paul Thomas Anderson (PTA) is my favorite director. This new trailer makes me feel all tingly. I'm beyond stoked. Even if this movie is horrible, it will still be technically amazing, it's win win!

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Summer Slaughter 2012 live @ The House of Blues, Hollywood. 7/20/12.

Summer Slaughter, we meet again. As I explained in my review of last summer's annual extreme metal tour/sweat fest, I've been going to this tour since it's inception in 07' making this my sixth time.

This year I was stoked for three reasons.
1) The two oddball headliners. I love Cannibal Corpse. I love Between The Buried and Me. The bands are NOTHING alike. Having them play back to back is either insane or genius.

2) Cerebral Bore- they cancelled their last US tour stops because of visa issues so I finally wanted to see them live.

3) Exhumed and Goatwhore getting exposure to large crowds. I love these bands but they always get stuck playing small shows and are basically preaching to the choir if you know what I mean. On Summer Slaughter they can play to lots of new young faces and hopefully help their careers.

Well as luck would have it we missed Cerebral Bore. I was crushed. At leeeeeast I was able to talk with the band outside at their merch table (where I bought their album). Cool people. Oh yeah, their singer is a girl. OMG. ha.

Exhumed and Goatwhore played criminally short sets. They performed mostly new songs off their latest albums and seemed to win over the crowd of geeky guitar wank teens with their raw/stripped down old school metal material.

I spent the next hour and a half outside chillin'. I had no desire to see the next three bands and since I'm old I really didn't want to deal with unnecessary noise/standing if I didn't have to.

The Faceless setting up brought me back inside. I used to really dig this band and still enjoy their two albums very much to this day, but something is wrong in Faceless land. They're from Southern California and over the past 7 years, I've seen them about 2.5 million times. I've lost count of all the different lineup's (especially drummers) they've been through. Well this new lineup (new 2nd guitarist, bassist, and vocalist) was pretty sloppy. They were seriously off on this night. The new vocalist is loud and has lots of energy on stage but he pales in comparison to Derek so it bummed me out. Also, the new song they played was kind of "eh," also.

So Between The Buried and Me was next and they basically stole the entire show for me. Now BTBAM has morphed from like a tech metal hardcore band into proggy rock, groove aficionados. It's crazy really. They have insane, EPIC 12 minute songs with never ending time changes that are heavy but damn catchy and have beautiful melodic smooth jazz parts and foot stomping 70's hard rock vibes all over the place. Yeah they were the highlight of my night for sure. They also implored a cool little light show, making me feel like I was at the Main Street Electrical Parade or something. Awesome.

Not all the old school, traditional death metal fans seemed to embrace BTBAM's wackiness with such open arms. For being an insane form of entertainment/expression, metal is wildly conservative in some regards. Anyways, most of the long hairs put up with BTBAM even if they didn't really dig it. So while large portions of the crowd either loved or were "eh" for BTBAM, pretty much EVERYONE was stoked for Cannibal Corpse.

Yes Cannibal Corpse. If ever there was a death metal institution it's them. I don't go to church but as far as I'm concerned, attending a Cannibal Corpse concert is the equivalent to tithing on Sundays, it's just something you have to do if you're into this type of music. It's a no brainer. They also played mostly new material off their last two albums, but strangely enough, for a band now in their 24th year of existence, their new material is damn awesome! They saved the older songs for the end and like usual, the crowd went ape shit. Here's their most famous song, the one Jim Carrey dances to in Ace Ventura:

So I caught 4 of the 5 bands I wanted to see most and they all were killer. Best of all, I didn't get smashed or sweaty at all! Spending so much time outside and then toward the side bar area meant I actually attended a Summer Slaughter without getting slaughtered! ha.

Here's Cannibal Corpse playing another old gem "I Cum Blood." iPhone quality > my old Sony Bloggie digital recorder anyday!

Sunday, July 22, 2012

Movie Review: The Dark Knight Rises

The final chapter in Christopher Nolan's epic Batman film trilogy is upon us. The Dark Knight Rises is just that, epic. The scope of this movie is beyond anything Nolan has done before, even dwarfing his hallucinogenic adventure film Inception (dream within a dream...go deeper!). Remember the flipping diesel truck in The Dark Knight, or the speeding train ripping through the city street in Inception? That's what Nolan's new film is like, a lumbering behemoth of a film. With a run time of damn near three hours, a smorgasbord cast of A list actors, locales and set pieces that cross the globe, and the largest most insane depiction of Gotham City ever,  The Dark Knight Rises is indeed an epic spectacle that is not to be missed.

I was skeptical before viewing this film. I mean, The Dark Knight, as much as I love picking it apart these days, was such an awesome, iconic even, event. It was like more than just a movie. Also, This new Batman flick would have the dubious task of ending the entire saga. With film trilogies, the first movie has the chore of introducing everything, the second film has free reign to do what it wants and be awesome, while the third is once again forced into tying up all the lose ends. So I kept that in the back of my head the whole time, reminding myself I was probably about to watch Return of The Jedi, not Empire Strikes Back if you catch my drift. Well, The Dark Knight Rises works WONDERFULLY as the final piece of Nolan's Batman jigsaw. Elements, themes and characters from the first two films are back, and in a big way. While Batman Begins and The Dark Knight really had no relation to one another, The Dark Knight Rises is directly linked to both previous films and knowledge of events that transpired the other films is essential to the experience of this new one.

The cast is phenomenal. Anne Hathway was my biggest fear. How would she pull off Selina Kyle (aka Catwoman)? Well she does. Everyone nails their performances. Tom Hardy is damn menacing as Bane (even if he sounds like Billy Madison sometimes). Michael Caine as Alfred, never in a million years would I think I would give a rats ass about Batman's butler but he's amazing in this. Gary Oldman, yeah he's still holding it down as Commissioner Gordon. Also, Joseph Gordon-Levitt, props man, props.

So the movie rules. Duh. But guess has it's flaws. Mainly that it's bloated. Yes this movie is epic in every sense of the word, but at some points it's just too much. Some unnecessary characters (Matthew Modine's annoying cop guy for example) could have been eliminated and some of the films "epic" plot really should have been scaled down a bit. As a history geek I got a kick out of seeing Bane trying to Robespierre his way into Gotham and starting his own Reign of Terror, French Revolution style in the streets but really, some of it came off as too phoney and the previously believable Bane instantly became comic book super villain guy and that I didn't like.

Why so serious...oh.
Small grievances aside, I gotta say, I really enjoyed this movie. So nice seeing an adult film (well, not that kind, hehe) with awesome visuals that's not covered in 3D/CGI filth. Also, we've spent the past 7 years with these characters so seeing the grand finale was kind of touching. Like saying goodbye to friends on the last day of school. Damn you Nolan. Damn you!

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Remember The Dark Knight

off to see The Dark Knight Rises midnight showing. Wish me luck. It's gonna be nuts. Here's an awesome little retrospective of the entire series:

Monday, July 16, 2012

Movie Review: Moonrise Kingdom

I enjoyed Moonrise Kingdom even though I usually can't stand Wes Anderson films. That being said, I probably would have enjoyed Moonrise Kingdom more if it hadn't been for, you guessed it, Wes Anderson.

Now the Wes Anderson formula is something people either love or hate. I always seem to find myself in the latter. If you've seen one Wes Anderson film, you've basically seen them all. Now I gotta give him credit where credit is due, Anderson has successfully created his own visually striking cinematic universe. Unfortunately his visual style usually overshadows the substance of his films and this is what irks me so much about the director and his latest film, Moonrise Kingdom. I'm not alone here, google "Wes Anderson Formula" and you'll get a bunch of articles from different film sites/blogs that have been bitching about Anderson's beautiful artistic crutch for years.

MFW: DAT Wes Anderson Formula
So without further adieu, here's the Wes Anderson formula:
bright colors
Bill Murray
deadpan/one dimensional characters
spartan use of dialogue
ironic clothes/hair styles
slow motion
rigidly tight and unnatural close up/zoom shots

For better or worse this is what people have come to expect from Wes Anderson films and he doesn't fail to deliver his now trademark brand of quirk/eccentric film making in his latest work.

totally natural. totally believable. totally.
Moonrise Kingdom is the story of two young lovebirds/social outcasts who runway together into the wilderness of a tiny New England island. It's set in 1965 so Anderson's film is writhe with bright retro colors and vintage, everything. We get Bruce Willis and Edward Norton running around in dorky outfits that are not only nostalgic/ironic but almost excusable because of the time period. Bill Murray and Frances McDormand deliver the most phoned in performances of the year (but done so intentionally I'm sure....damn that formula!) and we're subject to more awkward shots and cringe worthy bouts of dialogue.

Now that I'm done bitching, I must say, Moonrise Kingdom's saving grace are it's two child stars, Jared Gilman and Kara Hayward. They play Sam and Suzy, the island's two social misfits who are too smart/eccentric for their own good. They form an instant bond and won't let little things like geography, family or the half-assed boy scouts stand between them. At first I thought they both were smug/pretentious little jerks and didn't really care for them. When they started roughing it in the woods my attitude changed slightly, but when they get to the beach and start stumbling through the physical and emotional stages of first puppy love, even this bitter old grinch couldn't hate any longer. The stares, the kiss, the goofy fucking dancing. I was sold.
congrats, you saved the movie!
So somewhere, hidden deep down beneath the pomp and pastels, there's a touching story inside Moonrise Kingdom. I have a feeling I'd have enjoyed it more if Anderson's wonderful visual style didn't overpower the narrative, yank me out of the film's reality and make me want to punch myself in the face. Still, a good movie though. No really!

TLDR: Moonrise Kingdom =

Wonders of Pandora: Miracle Fortress

So I guess this might be a new segment here at Jim's Fear. Sometimes I'm listening to Pandora and stumble across an awesome little jam I've never heard before or totally forgot about and I become mildly obsessed with them. Here's the latest tune that got stuck in my head sometime last week while cleaning:

I know it sounds like a Beach Boy's rip but I think that's why I love it so much. Sooooo much.

Friday, July 13, 2012

under-covers: Bruce Spingsteen/ Tegan and Sara

Perhaps, one of the greatest guilty pleasures in my life: the perverse enjoyment I get listening to musicians covering other artist's songs. The weirder the cover, the better! It doesn't matter how awkward or horrible the quality (shitty cell phone video, I'm looking at you), I'm an absolute sucker for this stuff. Here's the latest installment of "under-covers."

I'm not the hugest Bruce Springsteen fan in the world but it's safe to say this is perhaps one of the catchiest songs ever written. It's damn near impossible for me to not get stoked when I hear this tune. Like a dog perking up and chasing a tennis ball across the grass, there's something in this song's DNA that brings me to life.

Oh Haiii Courtney Cox. Didn't see you dancing there.

So here is Tegan and Sara's stripped down acoustic version:

That cover is just so raw and sincere. It really brings the lyrics back to the forefront of the song (they're hard to zero in on with all that 80's synth booming over them). Something about Sara's voice also makes me zone out like Cameron from Ferris Bueller's Day Off at the museum.

I don't know what to do in this case. I love the original version because it's so snappy and inspiring, yet Tegan & Sara's version has literally breathed new life into the song (well for me at least) with it's painfully honest approach. What do you folks think?

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Hellboy & Make-A-Wish Foundation

Ron Perlman rules. He rules so hard it's not even funny. In fact it's kind of heart wrenching.

Little Zachary is six years old. He's battling leukemia. The awesome people at the Make-A-Wish Foundation  helped make one of Zach's dreams come true: to meet and become Hellboy.

They contacted the company that did the special effects for the Hellboy films and Hellboy himself, Mr. Ron Perlman, came down and underwent the grueling 4 hour makeup process to bring the character to life for young Zachary.

Zachary not only got to meet Hellboy but the special effects guru's at Spectral Motion studio even put him in the makeup chair, transforming Zach into a mini Hellboy.

This is the coolest thing I've seen in forever. Ron Perlman and Spectral Motion, thanks for restoring my faith in humanity...and Zachary, you have the coolest taste my friend and I wish you all the best.

Sunday, July 8, 2012

Tickets Purchased

I got my ticket for this year's FYF Fest (Fuck Yeah Fest...Fest). I went two year's ago when Dillinger Escape Plan and Converge played together on the festival's third stage. Combined, they put on one of the best show's ever. That's also the night where I discovered Torche.

Well, Converge is playing the fest again this year, but this time with Refused. REFUSED. The band I took that road trip to San Francisco to see. They're headlining the festival. No way I'd miss this. I'm also itching to see:
  • Quicksand
  • Dinosaur Jr.
  • Turbonegro
  • Baroness
  • Hot Snakes
  • The Growlers
  • Fucked Up
  • Ceremony

Should be fun. Hopefully I don't ingest a shit ton of dirt like last time ( I was coughing black goo for a week). The Hives are also coming back to SoCal in fall. I can't believe I'll be seeing the Hives perform three times in 2012...that's more than I've seen them in the last seven years!

Here's some Baroness to end the post in style:

Thursday, July 5, 2012

Movie Review: Ted

Ted is a funny movie. I laughed. I laughed a lot actually. Unfortunately, Ted was also incredibly disappointing. When it comes to movie/entertainment, you win some and you lose some but in this case, I'd say Ted is more of a draw.

So Ted is the story of a magic teddy bear and his best friend John who've been pals/"thunder buddies" for close to 27 years. John may be 35 but thanks to his enchanted, foul mouthed, weed smoking, trouble making friend, he still acts like a dumb ass kid. His girlfriend (Mila Kunis) gets tired of his crap and now he's got to choose between her or Ted.

Whaddya mean disappointed?!?

First, Seth MacFarlane is a funny guy. I'm sure if we ever hung out/had lunch or something we'd laugh our asses off (and he'd pick up the tab, naturally). That being said, he's just not all that original. I had HOPED that Ted would be like a fresh start for MacFarlene. I wondered what he would do with 2 hours and an R-rating, what kind of wild, fucked up magic carpet ride would he take us on now that he was free from the confines of prime time television. Well, I was wrong. Ted isn't MacFarlene breaking new ground. Instead, it's like a 2 hour version of Family Guy. Some people might be happy with that and I'm sure if I was still 17 years old I would be also, but sadly, I just expected more.

Don't get me wrong, Ted is still a wildly funny movie...I just don't know how it will fare in repeat viewings. The problem I have with Ted (and Family Guy for that matter) is that it relies to heavily on pop culture/zeitgeist gags for it's humor. Ted is instantly gratifying and funny right now, but will zings at Katie Perry and Taylor Lautner really be funny down the road?  Ted relies on nostalgia/references to other things for it's laughs, rather than being funny in it's own right. You need to understand the Star Wars, Knight Rider, Alf and Flash Gordon nods to fully appreciate the film's gags. But then what? This type of humor wanes quickly. Not like comedies such as Friday, Something About Marry, or last year's Crazy Stupid Love, that really on situational humor/plot for it's big laughs and will easily stand the test of time. Sure I laughed my ass off watching Ted in the theater, problem is, the weak plot and random pop culture zaniness that's ruined Family Guy, has already left me tired it.

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Movie Review: Snow White and the Huntsman

best part of the movie right here ^^^
I didn't really know what to expect with this one. Part of me was stoked to see Charlize Theron looking hot on the big screen and see Thor (Chris Hemsworth) smash shit with a giant ax. The other part of me realized this was a movie about Snow White starring Twilight girl (Kristen Stewart) and was suddenly terrified. Well, luckily, the movie isn't all that bad. In fact, I would argue it could have actually been really good if it weren't for two things:

1)                                              Kristen Stewart
Twilight really drops the ball in this flick. I mean, she's pretty and does a good job looking all gorgeous and stuff while covered in dirt and sporting messy hair and all, but whenever she opens her mouth to speak the movie literally comes to a screeching halt. It came to a point where I suddenly wished I was watching The Little Mermaid, the part where Ariel trades her voice for legs and can't speak. Twilight would have been PERFECT in that role. Not so much here unfortunately.

2) Editing
Well, I don't have an image for this. Sue me (please don't!). This version of Snow White chucks all the Disney cartoon cheese out the window and strives for a darker, more fantastical live action version. They succeed fairly well in this department. My main beef is that the editing is annoying as hell. Whoever put this film together must have ADD I swear. The shots jump all over the damn place and it starts getting old real fast. Example: dramatic scene where the group mourns a fallen friend. The camera sticks on each person's grieving reaction for all of 1 second. Talk about killing the dramatic mood.

SHE'S the fairest of them all
Other than that this is pretty ok movie. Thor smashes shit with his, and grunts alot. Charlize Theron looks amazing and if I hadn't just seen her play evil incarnate 10x in Prometheus, I'd say her turn as the evil queen is the most wicked performance of her career. Also, the movie has some pretty rad special effects. Like mind bogglingly cool. I can imagine the director watched Pan's Labyrinth every night/morning for inspiration while shooting. I mean that as a compliment. Either way, not a horrible movie by any means, it just could have been so much better if it had a stronger lead actress.

Sunday, July 1, 2012

Conservative Rage

Abandon EARTH!
For those of you outside the USA, the Supreme Court just ruled that the Obama administration's Affordable Care Act (aka: Obamacare) is constitutional and apparently this ruling is the equivalent to one the four horsemen of the Apocalypse in right-wing political circles. The law would require a federal mandate for all citizens to purchase some form of health insurance (with tax rebates for those who can't afford it and expansion of state/federal assistance programs for the poor), granting the 30+ million uninsured Americans (who either can't afford coverage or don't qualify due to wonderful "pre-existing conditions") some form of safety net. This is hopefully the first of many steps meant to reform America's HORRIBLY BROKEN health care system.

I think this whole debate is a joke. Pretty much the rest of the modern world already has universal coverage and here we are trying to fight history/progress. It's like all of Earth has upgraded to broadband internet and us proud Americans disparately cling to our dial-up. Wake the fuck up. This Obamacare crap, which still panders to private (re: evil/corrupt) insurance companies is a half ass cop out. A band-aid on a bullet wound but hey, baby steps for the good ol' US of A right?

Political conservatives were outraged over the Supreme Court's decision. So outraged a number of them took to twitter and voiced their frustrations. These people were so disgusted by Obama and his socialist attack on their health care system, many of them threatened to move to Canada to escape his tyrannical rule once and for all. Move to Canada, to escape socialism. Canada...home of socialized health care.

That's the problem though. The discourse in this country is shattered. It's like trench warfare, WWI style. No side makes any progress and is content with shredding the other side to pieces. Nobody stops to think about how totally retarded the whole situation (including themselves!) have become.

In the wake of the decision, Republican's have directed their ire not at the wicked, Socialist/Kenyan/Muslim/Fascist/Communist/Democratically elected dictator aka President Obama, but at the turncoat "conservative" Chief Justice of the Supreme Court, John Roberts whose swing vote allowed the Affordable Care Act to survive. Robert's was appointed by G.W. Bush and was for all intents and purposes, supposed to be "their boy," but low and behold the man actually took the oath of office he swore seriously, looked beyond petty political and ideological preferences and did his fucking job, you know...interpreting the Constitution, and because of this, he's a sell out/public enemy #1 to American conservatives. 

This shirt of Chief Justice Roberts is being sold on Glenn Beck's website.

Maybe we don't deserve this planet. I'm sure those polar bears swimming for dear life in the arctic would do a much better job running the show once we're gone. One can only hope...