Films and Records?

If anyone follows this blog, you may have noticed that nothing has been doing here for about a month. Why is that? I was so stoked about actually writing things down and swearing on the internet. It felt powerful. I felt powerful.

But, I don’t know. Nothing has really been peeking my sarcasm of late. I’ve been working a little more, but that’s no excuse really. I’ve just stalled a little.

Plus, I keep thinking about the actual content on this blog. Why am I calling it Records, if I don’t review records? Why don’t I review records? Why this and that.

So I am going to try two things. One: I’m going to title it Films & Records as you see above. Two: I’m also going to review records.

Don’t worry. I’ve done it before, I know what I’m doing. I’ll also keep up on TV and other stuff too. We’ll see. Hope this explanation hasn’t run too long.

Now——————————————————————– Films & Records!

Film: Star Trek

I finally saw this, hoping to avoid first weekend crowds, it was us and all the old nerds. Guys and ladies about forty five or fifty five,  all saying the catchphrases along with the movie and laughing at all the little in jokes. One guy behind me even said,”That’s him all right,” after Karl Urban recited McCoy’s famous “Dammit I’m a doctor…” bit half way through. These were the hardcore fans, the ones who grew up on this and Philip K. Dick. The ones who could tell you every original episode’s title, plot, and alien babe that Captain Kirk nailed. And they loved it. And so did I.

The plot is just as much a confusing, impossible-in-every-way scenario as any other film in the Star Trek series. It involves time travel, an alternate reality, and Red Matter, which creates black holes. Nice.

The opening is an amazing introduction, full of action and special effects right off. The characters are all recognized accordingly, with Spock and Kirk meeting as adversaries at first. Turns out Spock created the infamous “Kobiyachi Maru” test that Kirk, and only Kirk, bested-by cheating. They’re all, “you cheated.” and Kirk’s all, “So?” It was awesome.

Oh yea, there’s a bad guy in this movie too! And he’s pissed. Seems he’s from the future and is a little ticked at our boy with the pointy ears over a destroyed home world. Hence the never even attempted to be explained magic red ball of 4 Dimensions. Gotta love those Trek’s.

In the end, Kirk finagles his way into the captain’s chair in less than a day-and after getting marooned on Hoth. There’s some yelling and warping and we get a sorta not as climactic as I had expected ending and the promise of sequels galore. It’s a whole new Trek

And now a rant for those who hated this movie for continuity sake alone: It’s just in my nature to like how different talents, whether they be film directors or comic book writers, take on well established franchises. There is nothing wrong with that. You have to recognize that franchises older than shit will eventually be tweaked. If they weren’t, you would have stale, lifeless installments of the same old shit that everyone thought was boring ten years ago. I give you Deep Space Nine and Voyager. They were boring. At least this movie is not boring.

Best parts- The ensemble cast. No superstar names here thank you. Chekov steals the show, Bones is awesome. Spock and all that. Well done. And the FX were top notch. I, for one, admired all the Enterprise updates.

Lame parts- Our ominous time traveler (no Spoilers here) just happens to be in the ice cave Kirk  haphazardly runs into, even though this individual knows of a federation outpost a mile away? Why the Hell is he in that cave? Also, the romantic subplot was kinda stupid. And forced. And unconvincing as much as it was disingenuous to the characters involved. But I guess thirteen year old girls gotta go to the movies too.

Record: The Decemberists – Hazards of Love

I live in Portland. So do the Decemberists. I’ll review their album Hazards of Love. It’s their second on a major label. After selling the fuck out with prog opera The Crane Wife, in 2006, bespecaled songwriter Colin Meloy and the group return to tell more intertwining and cryptic tales of love, and I assume, it’s hazards. By way of ROCKING OUT!

I’ve been listening to the Decemberists for some time, and each album seems to swell again and again, until there’s almost no room for all the orchestration and harmonics packed into the space. All that big studio money wouldn’t pay for a quiet or bleak album. No, this is the kind of money that buys electric guitars! All the instrumental oddities are allowed their cameo’s but for the most part this is the most straightforward musically speaking album yet.

Basically the album is one long road of transitioning from one song to another with preludes, interludes, reprises, and a four part title track. Four parts? That’s dedication. The band travels along this road dutifully, albeit with heavy steps. The shame is that they used to fly like trapeze artists.

All in all, it’s an enjoyable listen in a very generic way, but I can’t help feel that the charm of the Decemberists, the harkening to olden storytelling methods complete with olden instruments, is set aside for the elongated and Rock Band arena fodder.

There’s hooks out the ass yes, and good moments that resemble the Decemberists in some fashion. It just now sounds like they are trying to sound like something, rather than just sounding like it. Ease it up Decemberists. I know you’ve got it in you. Just relax and think back to Castaways and Cutouts. You can do it. I’ll still be here when you feel like being yourselves again. Promise.



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Filed under Films I've Watched, Real Music

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