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jmunky [2017] MUSIC

 

Maroon 5 - Red Pill Blues [2017] *

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Maroon 5 are everything wrong with everything ever wrong with anything. They suck so bad even every piece of excrement in the world would be better company in your vicinity than they are. This collection of blatantly beyond boring tepid turd vomit inducing dead donkey left in the sun razor blade in the eye genitals hacked off by the fucking numbers shit written and arranged by deranged work in progress A.I. will make you wish for death even if you had just won [the lottery] and simultaneously fucked [the hottest model in the world]. Do yourself a favor and take my word for it, and keep this Maroon 5 crap from ever entering your ear canal.

 


 

Isaak von Seggern [2017] FILM

 

Justice League [2017] *

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yOu cAn'T sAvE ThE wORlD ALonE

A true statement, that is unless you're the Justice League, and you realize halfway through the movie that you're all completely useless, so you call up Superman and you're like,

"plez sent halp"

And Superman shows up with like this computer generated STD on his upper lip, and Batman says,

"just please royally fuck my shit up"

And thus Superman royally fucks shit up, because who would have possibly ever thought some suicidal old dude and this shirtless fucking edgelord over here with his over-exaggerated fishing-rod would be able to do literally anything.

And that's the moral of the story that Warner Bros wants to imbue on the children of the world.

So remember kids, Uncle Affleck says if you are ever stuck on a problem, you're T R A S H and the only hope you have is just to continue on sucking Superman's dick and hope:

1. That you don't get CGI gonorrhea in your mouth.

2. That Superman will keep the hallmark channel scenes of him standing in a cornfield to a minimum and say something super lame like "enhhhh I Stand For JUSTICE" and single handedly prove entirely in one 15 minute scene that the need for a "Justice League" or really any other super heroes anywhere is completely pointless because Superman can shoot fucking lasers out of his eyes and fly, and his only weaknesses are little green fruity pebbles and mustaches.

"EEEEEEE but I'm wonder-woman and I have a LASSO that can make people tell the truth."

Shut the fuck up, Superman can turn people into pixie sticks consistency with nothing but the male gaze.

Batman doesn't even go "No Russian" on anyone in this either like in BvS. I might be a little easier on this movie if partway through Barry Allen was like "What's your superpower anyway haha lol" and Batman whipped out an Ak47 with thermal tracking and was like "I'm Prestige 20, I can remotely shut off the enemy team's Xbox Controllers, and I underwent a very expensive and painful surgery so I can shoot grenades out of my dick."

I hear all this nonsense about how oh Joss Whedon came in to finish directing after Snyder left, BUT IT STILL FEELS LIKE ONE DIRECTOR OH MY GOD ISN'T THAT CRAZY?!

Perhaps, but this is so insufferably bad, the movie would have heavily benefited from them just telling the fans that they get to collectively as a community write the script, and Snyder will just make whatever we turn in. I would have personally found some way to pitch an idea where Amy Adams is taking a bath, and Superman swings in and screams,

"I STAND FOR JUSTICE!"

Because that's like a turn on for Lois Lane, but his voice cracks and he miscalculates his landing and just goes straight through the neighbor's ceiling and lands in the bathtub and the bathroom floods, and now Amy Adam's spine is literally snapped in half and her body is now shaped like a Taco Bell Doritos Locos Taco because while Superman is not thicc, he did just 9/11 his body into her tummy, and now Superman/Clark Kent has to find a way to get rid of the body and continue to be this guy that is super upstanding and stands for justice, but also casually makes shit up on the spot when people come out to his small country home and ask where Lois Lane is because they haven't seen her in 6 months, when little do they know her body is currently decaying right underneath the floorboards they are standing on, and I will pitch it like American Psycho except with Superman playing Patrick Bateman, but it's also like "Justice League" except it's a good movie.

 


 

Swartacus [2017] MUSIC

 

Chris Stapleton - From A Room: Volume 1 [2017] * * * *

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Swartacus' Best of 2017

Sometimes an artist rises from the muck to transcend genre. Someone that has a voice that stops you cold and a synthesis of both old and new that is fresh, yet deeply nostalgic.

Chris Stapleton once said this: "If somebody tells me it sounds dated, I'd say that's great, as long as the date is 1978. My favorite things are from then."

Had I heard this statement then, I may have given in to the mania of Stapleton's debut album "Traveller" in 2015. I have still yet to hear that album by the way, but I came to this album because the cover looked like something from 1978.

A Grizzly Adams motherfucker on the cover completely unadorned with any swaggering, puking, pulsating tight jeaned assholes who are "lookin' to get lucky tonight - ya hear!?" Frankly, it looked like Merle Haggard or Waylon Jennings was wearing Burt Reynolds' Smokey and the Bandit hat and someone took a woolly fur shit on their chin.

...And it was on sale!

I had to buy it.

Now if you know me, you know I hate anything Country and Western that was created after 1982. Yet there's something about this greasy son of a coal miner that spoke to me. Perhaps it was the out of left field cover of "Nothing Compares 2 U" he did after Prince died... or maybe it was the fact that he toiled away for 15 years in Nashville as a song writer for "hick hop" meatheads like Luke Bryan & Tim McGraw before having an epiphany and working up a career defining album at the age of 37.

After hearing this dude's voice and a few spins of this bluesy, boozy, piece of Americana, I had to set aside all my assumptions about what modern Nashville could be.

As you've probably guesstimated by now, this album is slightly better than your typical bro hop songs about ogling hunnies and drinking Keystone Light on a pontoon boat... or feverishly masturbating in front of a campfire... or whatever the bro country kids are doing these days.

It is soulful and full of desolate resignation. The kind of resignation about life only a 39 year old journeyman musician can provide.

There is an undercurrent of '70s influence bubbling up through the pop sewage these days that I kinda dig...

From the earnest rocking of the Japandroids, to the Zeppelin-tinged recent stylings of Tame Impala and Queens of the Stone Age, all the way up to the arena rockers Arcade Fire (ABBA) and Foo Fighters (ELO, Queen) latest albums. But of all these different factions delving back into the days when headphones and vinyl were king... the band Whitney and their debut album "Light Upon the Lake" has gut punched me the hardest. These guys advertise themselves as "Country Soul" and seem to be modeling their young career after The Band. The yin to their yang is Stapleton... he's the crusty middle aged Uncle. He writes songs that are soulful and compassionate, but also adds weathered, ornery, and badass to the list.

This record is a fusion of a certain kind of gospel balladeering (too bad he can't get residuals every time "Broken Halos" is played at a funeral), hard charging grunge riffage ("Second One to Know"), Stevie Ray Vaughn/Gary Clark Jr-style Tex Mex Blues ("I Was Wrong") and straight up old school '70s outlaw country ("Up to No Good Livin'") and its charmed former drunkard who people call the "Picasso of paintin' the town"... hell that is brown enough that it would be right at home on Ween's "12 Golden Country Greats" album.

But the show pony in this stable is really - "Them Stems" - the greatest pot novelty song since "Because I Got High" by Afroman. It's gloriously skanky blues shuffle sounds like Jeff Bridges' character from Crazy Heart fronting the Blues Brothers band. Then ...topping everything off, Stapleton ends on a pitch black note with a complete downer dirge entitled "Death Row". That's Country.

You want to know what the best part is? This thing comes in at a lean 32 minutes. So I don't need to visit countryland long enough to get bored or irritated. Better yet, the Grizzly Adams motherfucker has Volume 2 coming out next month!

I'm just fine with Stapleton doing one of these 9-song beauties every 6-8 months. And as long as Sturgill Simpson releases an album with a Nirvana cover every couple years, that should be enough "new country" to keep me from stressing my Willie Nelson, Johnny Cash, Ronnie Milsap, and Hank Williams Sr (NOT Jr... I'm not completely insane) albums to the point of oversaturation.

When it comes to music I love being surprised and this record was a pleasant one.

 


 

Swartacus [2017] MUSIC

 

Audioslave - Audioslave [2002] * * *

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On its 15 year anniversary, it's time to give this bombastic Cornell/Rage Against the Machine mashup a second glance.

Whether you love it or hate it, there is a sort of ageless appeal to it. Cornell and Morello at the absolute peak of their powers, swinging for the cheap seats like an overweight DH on a last place team. These boys seem to be hoping to restore order to a rock world overturned by hideous "nu metal", Fred Durst, and a million soft rock versions of Green Day's "Time of Your Life" clogging the airwaves.

Producer Rick Rubin, with visions of Zeppelins dancing in his head, stitched together a gigantic Frankenstein's monster and watched it lumber around... bumping into walls... before gaining its balance and stomping off into the barren fruitless alt-rock desert. Cornell, with his full throated four octave belting and Morello giving even the most simplistic ballad the experimental Satriani humping Hendrix treatment.

I, for one, was not amused. I felt at the time that it was a cash grab of the highest order and was ready to disown Cornell forever. I felt completely justified once the Rubin machine shat out, not one, but two dud sequels before Cornell imploded the supergroup in a fit of "creative differences".

But a funny thing happened on the way to supergroup obscurity... I attended a Chris Cornell solo acoustic show. It was only then that I was completely blown away by the stripped down rawness of the lyrics and melodies of these tunes. They stood tall with the greatest of Soundgarden/Temple of the Dog/Beatle/Zeppelin covers in that setting. If you chip away the heavy armor of swaggering pomposity that is Audioslave, you will see a man who was caught somewhere between addiction and sobriety. Someone who was entering his late 30s... an icon to some extent, but also dangling on the precipice of irrelevance. Furthermore, the lyrics also take on a more surreal, haunting quality when put in context with Cornell's horrendous suicide coda.

I've always found it interesting that other grunge "anti-heroes" of the day like Vedder, Corgan, Weiland, and Staley all turned introspectively inward to their own struggles rather than attempt to soldier on in the same manner. All of them either aimed their fame rockets straight into the dirt (Staley, Weiland) or up their own bungholes (Vedder, Corgan). Cornell just said "fuck it" and decided to ride his rocket to the shadow of the sun and back. One could argue that Cornell remained more relevant than any of them - what with the Audioslave gig, the James Bond soundtrack, and the eventual reforming and subsequent Soundgarden album (which I don't think I need to argue that furiously is loads better than anything the other four churned out post-1998).

Anyway... it's amazing what time does for music. A teen or twenty-something with the gift of a high pitched howl, a good buddy with an itch to shred guitar, and a poorly lit garage to bash around in cares not for the musical politics of 15 years ago. All they care about is something they can jam that moves and has swagger. This album is the definition of R.O.C.K. in the U.S.A. (discounting four of the last five songs... which are heinous "filler" tracks in my book).

For myself, this album has become a go-to when I'm sitting in traffic and feel the need for some fabulous fanciful butt rock. The kind of rock that has some depth to it... but not too much mind you! Just slightly more than "Panama" by Van Halen.

Light my way, Cornell, Light my way.

 


 

Isaak von Seggern [2017] FILM

 

Drinking Buddies [2013] *

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LAST CALL PITCHES!

jk Anna Kendrick is hardly in this movie, but I just wanted to remind everyone that contrary to popular belief the third Pitch Perfect movie has not yet been released, and to go buy your tickets on Fandango immediately.

Alright listen here, I'm about to blow your mind.

Imagine a movie, where there is a guy right? And he is like this dude that is just living life one beer at a time. And he has this nasty, wildly unattractive girlfriend, with this super crazy boring personality, like she is into making fucking arts and crafts, and not cool arts and crafts either like underwater basket weaving or like the art of making a good movie, she is like into gluing plastic antelope figurines that she bought at the craft store onto this fake nature setting thing she has on their kitchen table. And every night this guy comes home and he's like "Fuuuuuccckkk me, she's at it again with the plastic antelopes". And she says something really just annoying and stupid with her big mouth like,

"oh hey honey"

And all he wants to do is crack open another beer and sit at the dinner table, but he has to say something like "Wow cool plastic raccoons" and not "Please stick the raccoon up your ass so far that you choke on it and die." Just really a salt of the earth kind of guy. And then, on the other hand, you got this girl. Not the ugly girl, this girl is cool because she too drinks beer, and she works with this guy, and they drink beer together and talk, but mostly they just drink beer together, and then drink beer together. And she dates this other dude, but he is kind of like this pretentious guy, and she likes him, but we never get to understand why because despite this guy being the catalyst for everything that happens in the movie, spending time and developing characters is like a stupid concept for petulant children. And her relationship with this other guy, I mean the guy she drinks with, is strictly platonic. But then oh my god, it becomes not so strictly platonic. But then it becomes fairly platonic, but the movie ends and it's ambiguously platonic.

And that is the whole movie.

I

Am

So

Shook

The biggest pitfall of the film besides the nothing story is that all of the main characters are trying laughably hard to make themselves realistic. This is the most constipated movie I have ever seen. Everything is so forced, and sometimes it becomes so outrageous I couldn't help but laugh. I read that there was literally no script, just an outline given to the actors, and boy does that not surprise me at all. You get all these scenes that, in retrospect, do just come across as someone making shit up on the spot. So nothing they are saying really matters, and it's not at all believable, especially when every third line is some variation of,

"um so hey do you like want to get a drink later?"

Once you realize that no one cared enough to even structure the movie with dialogue, you realize that nothing else means anything either. For some reason the main guy just doesn't wear shoes out in public in some scenes and your like that's weird why is he acting like a homeless person, but it doesn't mean anything. It also doesn't mean anything that they work at a brewery, it's just there, the director was like I like beer let's make a movie that takes place at a brewery so that I can hide my alcoholism. Them changing their clothes to match who they really like is where the artistry starts and stops in this movie. It's predictable, trashy, overly fantastical for a film that is supposed to be "realistic", and Anna Kendrick plays the undesirable.

WHAT?!

 


 

Isaak von Seggern [2017] FILM

 

Kick-Ass [2010] * *

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TAKE COVER CHIIIIIIIIILLLLLLDDDDD!

(pauses to take cover)

NOW SWITCH TO KRYPTONII- (switches to higher octave)- IIIIIIIIIIIIIITTTTTEEE

"switching"

I am always so sexually confused when I watch this film, because there's so many great things like Nic Cage talking in a sensual robot voice to give me goosebumps, but then he goes and glues on those fake handle bar mustaches, and it's like yeesh.

Imagine if Nic Cage made movies where he wasn't a guy forced to do the wrong thing for the right reasons.

It's ok I tried too and I can't either.

This movie sucks, nothing from my formative years is sacred except like... Winnie the Pooh. My 13 year old self was a tasteless moron who only ate Tostino's party (of one shitty little kid) pizzas, peanut butter sandwiches because I wasn't cool enough for jelly, and it's a small miracle I haven't yet been hit by a car.

Come to think of it, I have never not been a tasteless moron.

oh well oh well oh well

 


 

Reviews by Morg [2017] FILM

 

Star Trek: Into Darkness [2013] * * *

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There's a scene in which Kirk is filled in on the present life of a girl he presumably fooled around with once and had since forgotten about. He has no idea who she is anymore, but he pretends to have a clue, and his friend calls his bluff. This 30 second sequence was better and more subtle character development than in all of Valerian. If you're a hardcore Trekkie, be advised: I really liked this movie.

My initial exposure to Star Trek came by way of Into Darkness when it was released to theaters a few years back, and I loved it. I enjoyed the colors, the characters, the shoot 'em up attitude, everything. Even though I'm a little more well versed in elements of both science fiction and filmmaking in general, I still think this thing is solid. It's just got a lot of heart, and the people who made it really seem to give a hoot. There's well-rounded, thoughtful themes that aren't too big for the style and fun of all the storytelling, and I've got to give a lot of credit to J.J. for putting together a fairly complex storyline in such an enjoyable and easily digested fashion. However, I would hope nobody with any pre-conceived notion of a J.J. Abrams project would come in expecting a film akin to the older ones. Into Darkness is everything it wants to be, and that's usually a better route than trying and failing to be something someone else would prefer instead.

This is as pulpy as anything I've ever seen in theatres, yet it still feels like a genuinely well-crafted popcorn movie. The aesthetic is gorgeous, lens flares included, and the actors are emotive when necessary and deliver all the comedic elements with precision timing. The editing for dialogue is also cut just right. Just a very well-paced movie that covers a lot of ground without leaving a viewer exhausted.

Cumberbatch rules, and haters should know better by now. Chris Pine is just as good, and it helps that they keep his face marked up like that for the duration of the film. By the end of it, we as an audience can feel the weight on his shoulders visually. Simon Pegg is always a treat, and is probably one of the most under-appreciated working actors. Even Eomer gets his kicks in there, though I almost didn't recognize him without the hair and sword.

Basically, take any praise endowed these new Star Wars movies, which are overrated in my opinion, and apply it here instead. J.J. is a poor man's James Cameron, and a poor man's James Cameron is still pretty doggone good at making movies.

 


 

Swartacus [2017] MUSIC

 

Weezer - Pacific Daydream [2017] * * *

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Weezer hasn't changed.
You've changed.

 


 

Biscoito18 [2017] FILM

 

Eraserhead [1977] * * * * *

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"Eraserhead" is grotesque to the point of being repellent.

This must be more or less what people see and feel when they face deadlights or contemplate the lovecraftian afterlife before they go crazy or die.

No one can transcribe the frightening randomness of a nightmare better than David Lynch. He doesn't cling to just a concept, a source or an idea that he wants to represent. It is a mixture that ends up giving life to several possible interpretations. Dream logic at its best.

Lynch uses his personal problems, like: his daughter who needed plastic surgery after birth, his life in suffocating Philadelphia (inspiration for the surreal and industrial world of the film), the anguish of adulthood, carnal desire and guilt (and, at the same time, fear of responsibility and STDs) for fantasizing about sex with other women.

The only thing scarier than the unknown is the deformed known. The uncanny valley. They look and, sometimes, act like people, but there's something off. A frightening strangeness.

The baby is particularly disturbing. It made me sick. It's painfully distressing to see that defenseless, innocent and even cute creature that, at the same time, is extremely disgusting, condemned to decay. You want to protect it at all costs but, at the same time, you can't stand to be around to face its inescapable degradation.

The bed is his paradise.

He spends most of his time in bed, daydreaming about a beautiful young woman (the lady in the radiator) who satisfies him sexually.

Oral sex. Cheeks that resemble testicles. Discarding possible human beings (spermatozoa) by stepping on them. We came from the sperm, and to sperm we will return.

The film makes an association between fecundation and the vast unknown darkness of the universe. It begins with fertilization, ends with the destruction of the egg, the cradle of life, here portrayed as an asteroid.

The man on the planet is his soul, his true self, the equivalent of Dorian Gray's painting.

Then comes the realization that dying is the best thing that could happen to something alive. Encouraged by the mantra of the lady in the radiator, he tries to advance the idea but is confronted with his moral resistance.

"Eraserhead" is a mockery, a criticism, a nightmare about modern society's customs that accentuate the strangeness to the maximum degree trying to represent afflictions like anxiety, fear, repulsion, created by the imposition of these customs.

Human life through alien eyes.

 


 

Chad S. Walsky [2017] FILM

 

The Lost Boys [1987] * * * * *

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Few movies make me as nostalgic for my childhood as 1987's "The Lost Boys".

Now I don't want this review to turn into some shitty Don Henley song about lost innocence, but it's amazing how many youthful memories this flick stirs up. Just pulling it off the shelf caused me to flashback to the church of my youth, Sarnia East Video. I look back on those trips to the video store the way some people look back on family vacations at Disney World (we couldn't afford that shit anyway). But once a week I'd get to wander around the video store for 30 minutes and all was right with the world. The neon signs, the ratty carpet, the American Ninja poster, the green beaded curtains that separated the regular folks from the perverts in the porn section, the Tears for Fears blasting from the primitive sound system - I can remember all of it like it was yesterday.

And it was at this magical place that I first ran my sticky, Fun Dip-stained fingers across the case for The Lost Boys. First thing that struck me was the tagline, "Sleep all day. Party all night. Never grow old. Never die. It's fun to be a vampire." Holy. Shit. This was hitting me right in my 12 year old sweet spot. I couldn't imagine a more bad-ass group of words. Then my eyes started to canvass the cover and I was immediately taken by the coolest group of vampires this preteen boy had ever seen. No stuffy ascots and impractical capes for these dudes - just dusters, Ray-Bans, and lots of Aqua Net. Before I saw a frame I just KNEW they had to ride motorcycles (spoiler alert - of course they did). I imagine myself giddily looking around the video store, trying to make eye contact with strangers to say, "Are you guys FUCKING SEEING THIS?!? THESE GUYS DON'T PLAY BY THE RULES AT ALL!!" I was already under its spell. I walked up to the cashier, pulled my two dollars from the front pocket of my acid washed Bugle Boy jorts, and raced back to my mother's Ford Bronco II so we could get home and fire up the VCR. Nothing would ever be the same!

For the next six months I was in full Lost Boys mode. Bought the soundtrack on cassette. Bought a t-shirt that was waaaaay too small but wore it almost daily. Rented the VHS monthly. I urged my parents to give me a brother so we could team up and kill vampires in rural Minnesota like my heroes Edgar and Alan. I'd race around on my bike screaming, "Say hello to the night, lost in the shadooooooows", like some sort of coked-out, prepubescent Lou Gramm. I never put a shirtless Rob Lowe poster on my wall though, but I would've.

Anyway, I decided to rewatch this and expected to be let down. Time and cynicism have a funny way of corroding the shit I used to love. But guess what? The fucker still delivers - camp, gore, laughs, and 80s cheese all packed in one flamboyant package. Nowadays if someone makes a movie about effeminate vampires with great hair chasing forbidden love we end up with a sparkly Robert Pattinson fighting a water-brained Taylor Lautner while Kristen Stewart blankly looks on. Point is, these guys were bad ass AND sensitive and the homoerotic subtext only makes them cooler. Man, I love this movie.

The movie is a cornucopia of delights: Lost in the shuffle of the camp and humor is the amazing feeding frenzy at the beach with Michael and David, the Frog Brothers (just two typical teens handing out comics that double as advertisements for their vampire murdering service), the two Coreys, Dianne Wiest wearing ankle socks with high heels, Bill from "Bill and Ted's Excellent Adventure" as curly haired vampire, Jason Patric channeling Jim Morrison, mullets, the phrase "shit-sucking vampire", motorbikes, bottled blood, and shirtless Sex Gods who win over the youth with powerful saxophone concerts... The Lost Boys truly has everything.

 


 

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