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Posts Tagged ‘charlie kaufman’

39. Down – Ghosts Along The Mississippi

Phil Anselmo’s a beast. The uncrowned prince of southern-tinged thrash metal and whatnot. Along with his merry band of traveling badasses (Pepper Keenan, Jimmy Bower and Rex Brown), he belts out one of the best metal ballads I’ve heard since forever. Yes it’s a ballad. Just that Anselmo’s narrative skills are really really scary. Just so you know, Down’s Bustle In Your Hedgegrow is a keeper.

38. Pharoahe Monch, Common & Talib Kweli – The Truth

Some folks sleep better at night, knowing that Hip Hop is only about silly braggadocio and profane limericks. Yeah sure, man. Metal’s all about “Fred Durst and his nookie”, Blues is nothing but an erstwhile John Mayer solo stuck in transit and hey, what is Jazz but a fleeting moment encapsulated inside those reverb-laden Buddha’s Bar albums, right? Wankers. Rappers Pharoahe Monch, Talib Kweli and Common turn their spittle into laidback conscious rhymes as ethereal strings dive bomb all around them.

37. Weezer – Brain Stew (Live at AOL Sessions)

The anthemic pop punk explosion of Green Day’s original is given a shock treatment by the underrated LA hipsters Weezer. They sedate the track into sounding like therapeutic murmurs that burst into full-blow argument in favour of insanity, thanks to a fantastic piano breakdown. Fun fact: Rivers Cuomo eats cookie-cutter punks like Billie Joe for breakfast.

36. Corrosion Of Conformity – Rise River Rise

I bet James Hetfield secretly wishes that Metallica had made America’s Volume Dealer instead of Corrosion Of Conformity. Soul-stirring, bone-crunching and flat-out amazing. Senor badass Pepper J. Keenan on vocal duties and rhythm guitar plays us like a fiddle, especially on this track.  Fun fact: Pepper Keenan burps out hags like Hetfield after a diet coke.

35. Mark Lanegan – Bombed

Mark Lanegan’s sandpaper-grated, whiskey-soaked vocals surface above the sparse acoustic strumming, along with PJ Harvey’s velveteen whispering, to create the sort of experience that a measly minute truly doesn’t deserve. Like QOTSA’s Lullaby but a million times better.

34. Jon Brion – Theme from ESOTSM

Jon Brion just happens to be one of the most talented multi-instrumentalists out there. His compositions for Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind work wonders with Charlie Kaufman’s fantastic dialogues. Existentialism has never sounded lovelier.

33. Crowbar – To Touch the Hand of God / Odd Fellows Rest

I have wussied out and chosen Louisiana’s sludge kings Crowbar’s tamest and most palpable tracsk. Matter of fact, these could be the most fragile ballads to have ever emerged from the NOLA metal scene (along with COC’s Shelter). Not many completely fathom the unbridled intensity of their slow-paced, downtuned brooding, but it would take nothing short of busted eardrums to circumvent the breathtaking artistry of these two.

32. Aceyalone and Goapele – Moonlit Skies

As a founding member of the Freestyle Fellowship, LA rapper Aceyalone was one of the forerunners of jazz rap. Goapele is one of those neo soul musicians who playfully messes around with downtempo and trip hop. Together they…yes, I do believe the word I’m looking for is magic.

31. The Eels – Hospital Food

In case you’re new around here, Mark Oliver Everett has my vote for any King of Pop list. I don’t know any other singer-songwriter since Lennon and probably Elliot Smith to a lesser extent who has been this consistently good. The 1998 album Electro Shock Blues has some of the most gloriously twisted pop music there ever was, with this track’s erstwhile saxophone meltdown providing its most cathartic moment. “He’s always got a problem, he’s a very bitter dude, and now he’s complaining ’bout his hospital food”.

30. Portishead – Only You (Live In Roseland)

Let it be known that Portishead’s Live In Roseland, NYC, is one of the best live albums of the Nineties. With the New York Philharmonic Orchestra backing her up, singer Beth Gibbons lovingly embraces her smoky bar-room mystique and launches into a bone-chilling version of this track.

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Tyson: I’d bought this thinking it was James Toback’s documentary. It turned out to be director’s Uli Edel straight-to-video take on Mike Tyson’s life. Truth be told, it was lame. Nothing that we haven’t read about on tabloids or stared at on E! and VH1 specials. Minor props to the Paul Winfield for his portrayal of Don King. He wore his Afro like only a king could.

great-buck-howardThe Great Buck Howard: First Charlie Bartnett, now this. Great. Maybe now I’ll listen to Metallica and wallow in abject mediocrity. Now look…there’s nothing wrong with The Great Buck Howard on paper. It’s got a nifty little story somewhere in there about people finding their place in the world. Several minutes of John Malkovichthe mentalist – ranting and raving about his place in pop culture. The dreamy damsel Emily Blunt is in there too, along with a cameo by the King of Mediocre Tom Hanks. However this film somehow just doesn’t cut the Chutney (I friggin hate mustard). It’s one of those independent films with mainstream actors that desperately hopes to appear quaint and quirky. But they end up being hasty and boring. The Great Buck Howard does a few things right though. You can send in your thank-you cards to John Malkovich. First, he almost saved Con Air. Now this. Waah what a man.

synecdoche2Synecdoche, New York: I think Charlie Kaufman possesses that sort of malaise that makes him jump on that line between ingenuity and pretension and scratch the fuck out of it. Synecdoche New York, like many others penned by him, is a remarkable film. Theater director Caden Cotard (Philip Seymour) has his sights set on Broadway and he is on the verge of unleashing a brutal masterpiece of candour. He assembles actors together in a warehouse and chucks metaphors at them, both figuratively and almost literally. And there’s his personal life too. A daughter ailing from a mysterious illness, a self-indulgent psychotherapist and caricatures of others. In a nutshell, the one might find the story to be slighty artsy fartsy, but that would be akin to finding plots in Robert Altman’s films to be a bit boring based on how they IMDB describes them. Funny thing is, Roger Ebert praised the hell out of it while The Observer called it the worst movie ever made. Only Kaufman could stir such extremities in opinions.

stationagent-1The Station Agent: I can’t believe I haven’t reviewed Thomas McCarthy’s Station Agent yet. For the past five years, it has been firmly lodged in my top Five Indie Films like ever. Hell, it even replaced Nick Willing’s awesome Photographing Fairies as the perfect afternoon film for me. So, the story is about Finbar McBride, a dwarf who shifts base from a city to an abandoned train depot in rural New Jersey to live a life of seclusion. In time, he meets Bobby Cannavale, a goofy mobile hotdog vendor and Patricia Clarkson, a divorcee doing little to get over the death of her son. The allure of Station Agent lies in its ability to rise above the obvious, despite keeping it fairly simple. Of course, McBride hates being short. Dam right he gets pissed off with the way people look at him. And sometimes, with the right amount of beer inside, he might even fancy giving this godforsaken life a chance or two.

The word “heartwarming” gets tossed out a lot. It is widely used nowadays to describe any sub-par drama in which the protagonist suffers through an unnecessarily tragic climax and comes out as a better person. Well, I consider Station Agent to be genuinely heartwarming. The best part is that the director doesn’t want you to recognize it; he just wants you listen to gentle crackle and pop noises that your senses make when in contact with something as beautiful and warm as this. Fantastic performances by Peter Dinkage (McBride), the always awesome Olivia Harris (Clarkson) and Joe Oramas (Bobby).

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There are millions of films that have been released over the past few decades that I really wanted to see but haven’t yet had the opportunity. By millions, I mean hundreds. So it’s going to be quite awhile before I start completely salivating at the prospect of new film releases. For now, I shall restrict the excitement levels to mild frothing.

Film: W

Director: Oliver Stone

Cast: Josh Brolin, James Cromwell, Richard Dreyfuss

Synopsis: Supposedly, it chronicles the series of incidents that led George W Bush to the bottom of the bottle and consequently into the limelight as the President.

Why I Care: I felt sympathetic towards a pedophile in Woodsman; I can’t wait to see if I even have an ounce of it for Dubya.

Film: House

Director: Robby Henson

Cast: Michael Madsen, Leslie Easterbrook, Allana Bale

Synopsis: Two stranded couples. Three expected survivors. One crazy-ass Alabama psycho.

Why I Care: In the trailer, the psycho claims to have “killed God after he let Him into his house”…verbal viral marketing? Nice.

Film: Synecdoche, New York

Director: Charlie Kaufman

Cast: Philip Seymour Hoffman, Catherine Keener, Jennifer Jason Leigh

Synopsis: Hoffman plays a director neither at the apex of his career nor his marital life, who now embarks on his theatrical masterpiece – a life-size replica of New York inside a warehouse.

Why I Care: Two reasons. Hoffman and Kaufman.

Film: The Wrestler

Director: Darren Aronofsky

Cast: Michael Rourke, Marisa Tomei, Evan Rachel Wood

Synopsis: Supposedly, a tale of an independent wrestler rising up the ranks to face his nemesis.

Why I Care: Aronofsky’s return to Indie films, and Mickey playing a wrestler? I am going to end up watching this film at least six times.

Film: Saibogujiman Kwenchana (I’m A Cyborg, But That’s OK)

Director: Chan-Wook Park

Cast: Su-Jeong Lim, Rain, Dal-Su Oh

Synopsis: IMDB says, “A girl who thinks she is a combat Cyborg checks into a mental hospital, where she encounters other psychotics,” and falls for a man who thinks he can steal people’s souls.”

Why I Care: Didn’t you read the synopsis? Also, Park is the twisted mind behind Oldboy and Sympathy For Lady Vengeance.

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