Tuesday, November 29th, 2005

Life On Mars?

Is it wrong that while watching Spielberg’s remake of War Of The Worlds, I was cheering for the aliens? Maybe not to conquer to world, but surely to make raspberry jam of Tom Cruise and his horribly annoying brood before falling victim to the avian flu? Technically, the film was excellent – and I wouldn’t expect anything less from Spielberg. The aliens were menacing, the special effects fantastic, the suspenseful moments, um, suspenseful… but I didn’t really like this film. The main problem is that Spielberg chooses to show the alien invasion from the POV of one family, and it’s an incredibly annoying family. It’s very hard to believe that anyone faced with something as apocalyptic as an alien invasion would still find time to be all, “you never had time for me, dad!” petulant. Give me a break. Also kinda dumb – aliens doing house-to-house inspections for survivors and rooting through Tim Robbins’ porn collection.

Spielberg also continues his streak of weak endings, even though he sticks to the original explanation for the aliens’ demise. He manages to make the idea of the aliens being done in by bacteria seem incredibly trite and a cop-out, even though I think that Wells’ solution was pretty damn clever. Maybe it’s just the presence of Tom Cruise. There’s something about that guy and aliens. And don’t even get me started on the utter absurdity of the final scene… I’ve never read the original novel, nor heard the radio play or even seen the original movie so I have no comments about the 2005 edition in the greater historical context, though I definitely preferred Alan Moore’s League Of Extraordinary Gentlemen take on the story.

Win Butler talks about the year in Arcade Fire to The National Post. Via Largehearted Boy.

Those touring machines in The Magnolia Electric Co will be coming back to town on March 25 of next year. The venue is still TBA, but Lee’s Palace – where they played this past August – seems like a good bet.

The Slowdive reissues? Now Pitchfork-approved!

Andrew Kenny of American Analog Set talks setlists, labels and making out with Junkmedia. I’ve been trying to find a picture of the “iPod != turntable” t-shirts they’ve been selling on tour, but to no avail. I bought one the other week in Toronto and think it’s great, since I’m quite fond of both my iPod and my turntable.

Speaking of which, The Guardian has a piece on the remarkable resurgance of vinyl sales in the UK. Seeing sales numbers like those attributed to Paul Weller’s latest album (55% CD, 38% LP) are pretty astounding, and the general upswing in record sales are attributed in large part to the indie rock demographic. Yay, us. I got my turntable properly set up this weekend and fitted with a Grado Red cart. It sounds superb.

Yes, this is shaping up to be a bit of a slow week. Sorry.

np – Sparklehorse / Good Morning Spider

By : Frank Yang at 8:56 am
Category: Uncategorized
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  1. Neil says:

    I got all excited there for a second because I thought you were linking to a new Sparklehorse track… alas.

    Regarding Spielberg’s problem with weak endings: that’s what drove me nuts about Saving Private Ryan, which was overall quite a good film – it was bookended with some of the cheesiest, most jingoistic schmaltz ever.

    I haven’t seen the new War of the Worlds yet, mainly because of Cruise. Besides Magnolia I can’t think of a single movie he was in that I liked… and the only reason he’s bearable in that is because he’s playing a jerk. (Haven’t seen Collateral yet, though, which I’ve heard is good.)

  2. Frank says:

    "Collatoral" was alright. I think my thing with Tom Cruise is that I find him lacking in any personality whatsoever. He’s like this weird, creepy blank slate up there, and everything he does seems like acting. There’s absolutely nothing natural about him. This is why he deserves to be squished by giant alien tripods.

    Re: Saving Private Ryan – how could Matt Damon be remembering the first half of the film if he wasn’t even there?

    As for Sparklehorse… soon, soon. they’re mixing the album next month and then there’s no excuse not to have it out in ’06. Unless they don’t like it.

  3. the infamous jennifer says:

    In the original War of the Worlds, i believe that the main character ends up in a church praying with some people and they suddenly realise that they no longer hear the aliens outside. The main character goes out and yup, a single alien hand plunks out and they realise they’re all dead.

    And i don’t know about you, but i would totally tell my Dad off in an apocalypse.

  4. the infamous jennifer says:

    Oh yeah.

    RE: Saving Private Ryan, Eddie Izzard said it before, but where the fuck were the other Allies?!

  5. Five Seventeen says:

    War of the worlds: Hated it. I was playing along until the house by house searches by the aliens, who seemed perfectly content to just destroy everything only minutes before. I suppose the architecture appealled to them?

    Is you stereo also lined into your computer to transfer those tracks to your ipod? Just wondering…

  6. Frank says:

    yeah, it’s like they suddenly forgot they had vaporizers. the clincher for me was when Tom Jr wanted to watch them fight the aliens. "I have to see this!". No you don’t, you have to get squished by a tripod. There wasn’t nearly enough squishing, and I missed the laser beam sound effects from the original film.

    I could easily hook the turntable up to the laptop, but don’t have a USB A/D converter. I don’t think the mic input is really meant for line-level signals. But probably for not a lot of $$, I could have it going.

  7. Chris says:

    Has anyone managed to find the Slowdive reissues in Toronto yet? I am assuming that Soundscapes would have them but alas I have been chained to my desk at work in the middle of nowhere (Don Mills) and haven’t been down there lately.

  8. mike says:

    Rotate This has ’em(I was just there today around 5:30 pm), but they’re about $30 CDN each. Too rich for my blood.

  9. Ryan Waddell says:

    I never saw WotW… Just never got around to it. I’m sure I’ll enjoy it, because I enjoy most films that I see, but I always thought the "aliens wiped out by germs" in the book was a HUGE cop-out. Of course, I spent my entire youth reading science fiction stories where they ALWAYS wore space suits until they were sure that the air was safe to breathe… I mean, I guess in 1895 of whatever they didn’t really know what bacteria/viruses even WERE, so it’s kinda understandable for the time… but considering that by the 30’s and 40’s all our spacemen in stories had helmets (despite the fact that we were still 30 years away from space), you’d think that an interstellar attack force would be sophisticated enough to consider that. :)