The Return of Soundgarden, etc...

The release date for the new Soundgarden album is 28 September 2010. The first single "Black Rain" is up on iTunes for $1.29. Starts out kinda swirly + swelly like "Searching with My Good Eye Closed" before kicking into a mammoth + amazingly sick riff in fuckt/4 time. Makes me think of stuff from Badmotorfinger (and it turns out, it was recording during the sessions for BMF)... odd-time, twisted guitars, rumbly + intricate bass, huge drums, multi-trackt Chris vox screaming to the mountaintop...
So... holy shit!

The flicks reviewed are currently being shown. Check listings for pay channels, IFC + Sundance (+ for noir stuff, sometimes Fox Movie) Channels for details.

The Signal (2007)

I thoroughly enjoyed this very clever indie film. Some sort of ubiquitous weird transmission has overtaken televisions + phones, driving those exposed to it for even a short time into a homicidal rage. And the few people who've avoided exposure are gonna have to fight their way out of the city if they want to survive. The story is well-told, careening through three different segments, each by a different director. The opening segment is a dark + vital updating of Night of the Living Dead, with a a clever opening film-in-film trope (a brilliant tip'o'the hat to indie-horror's forefathers) + a quick introduction to our lead couple Mya + Ben before an unexplained + immediate descent into nightmare. The second act fleshes out the backstory a bit more + also turns toward an extreme Re-Animator style horror-comedy vibe, while the final bit balances the horror + humor, adding in the love story that's been underpinning the plot the whole film. It's definitely an excellent entry in the "infection/virus" sub-genre of 'zombie mooby.' The gore level varies, with some of the violence in your face + some more subtly presented. The guy with the shears in the first bit is disturbing, and Mya's jealous husband's professional use of a pest control spray cannister is terrifying + clever. And his baseball bat... Filmed in Atlanta on a budget of $50K, but with a very professionally-done style that never goes too far into the realm of overpolisht-Hollywood or indie-hell. Some subtle anti-mainstream media concepts at play, as well, with salvation in the forms of love +, even better, your own personal mix CD, though Ben's taste in music... Whatever, me like-y!

Los cronocrímenes (2007) (English title: Timecrimes)

Investigating something strange he's seen in the woods near his country home, Hector ends up being pursued through the forest by a bandage-covered man. His flight takes him to a nearby research facility, where he unknowingly enters a time machine + is flung backwards in time. But only about an hour or so. And that's all the plot info you'll get from me; to do otherwise ruins the flick. Hector is developed as a character as the story progresses + the entire film unfolds cleverly. Without ever feeling cheated, I was easily able to stay on track even as the time-travel aspects of the plot started to become more complex. This could've been very confusing, but was instead a clear, almost linear story that kept me interested all the way til the finish. This is the first film from Spanish director Nacho Vigalondo, so look for his futurewerks. Me-likey!

and a book:
Drood by Dan Simmons
Simmons spins a dark fiction around the historical events of the last five years in the life of Charles Dickens, told from the POV of fellow Brit author Wilkie Collins, + involving the dark machinations of a powerful possibly supernatural menace named Drood who controls the criminal underworld of London. Great book, with weirding hints at Dracula, the Phantom of the Opera + Sherlock Holmes, plus references to Simmons' arctic historical-horror novel The Terror (also reviewed here by zwolf... search it out). And, like The Terror, Drood is well-researched, with an astounding amount of historical detail + fact interwoven into the fabric of the story. Scary swarthy foreigners, mesmerism, questionable Scotland Yard inspectors, sleazy opium dens... the Victorian Era is a lot of fun, if you're chugging laudanum, I s'pose. Highly recommended!

And a final thought... The Comedy Central Roast of David Hasselhoff aired this week. Try to catch a replay, cuz there were some hilariously ugly jokes bandied about, including Greg Giraldo's beautiful "David Hasselhoff's liver is so shriveled, black + dead that if you lean in close to his side, you can hear it saying, 'Whatchu talkin'bout, Willis?'"

Hah-hah! That's all for now... gotta go watch Brian DePalma's Sisters from 1973 starring Margot Kidder (playing crazy before she went crazy) as a pair of psycho-ass twins! IFC aired it yesterday, but I was enthralled (again) by Akira Kurosawa's brilliant Ran, so today's the day... might even get to The Nickel Ride, a cop-flick from the early 70s.

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