Movie review: “Much Ado About Nothing” (2012)

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“Come, lady, come. You have lost the heart of Signior Benedick.”

“Indeed, my lord. He lent it me a while and I gave him use for it…a double heart for his single one. Merry, once before he won it of me with false dice. Therefore your grace may well say I have lost it.”

When presenting any adaptation of Shakespeare to a modern audience, the filmmaker has some tricky choices to make up front, and faces any number of potential hurdles, not the least of which is the Bard himself. Though many of his themes and much of the behavior he relates are universal and relatable across time, there comes along also the nagging sense that Shakespeare’s works now have an instantly anachronistic quality about them, as if in over their years of being so intensely studied and performed and regularly adapted anew, they have passed some weird sort of expiration date in the larger consciousness of the consumer class, that time has, in some cruel way, begun to decisively pass them by. Continue reading “Movie review: “Much Ado About Nothing” (2012)”

Concert review: Decapitated/Misery Index

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Alrosa Villa, Columbus, OH – November 15, 2014

The heavy metal genre is the most cloistered and insular in all of modern music. This is by design. Metal, with all its shadowy, subjectively evil trappings and edgy, objectively antisocial output, is predicated not only on the idea of distressing and offending parents, authority figures, moral arbiters, et al, but also on separating the wheat from the chaff on a larger societal level. Every aspect of this music and the surrounding/supporting culture is engineered to serve a dual purpose, nourishing and buttressing its serious listeners and scene adherents – so many of them loners, outcasts or “nerds” in a lifelong search for connection – while simultaneously repelling everyone else Continue reading “Concert review: Decapitated/Misery Index”

Movie review: “Broadcast News” (1987)

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“You know, I’m just old enough to be flattered by the term ‘early retirement’.”

“That’s wonderful. What a lovely line. Now, if there’s anything I can do for you…”

“Well…I certainly hope you’ll die soon.”

Some twenty-five years since I first saw it at entirely too young an age, James L. Brooks’ Broadcast News remains one of cinema’s great thoughtful treatises on the pains, rewards, and, above all, complexities of adult relationships, both on and off the clock. The film is warm and funny, incisive and contemplative, and, at just the right time, stony and heartbreaking. It offers an engaging, full-spectrum view of a somewhat mysterious profession, television journalism (especially in the late 1980s), that few films before or since it can match, and does so almost as an afterthought, subordinating the fascinating background detail in favor of the foreground story of three very specific, highly-motivated newspersons, who love each other almost as much as they love what they do. Almost. Continue reading “Movie review: “Broadcast News” (1987)”

Movie review: “John Wick” (2014)

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“In a bar, I once saw him kill three men…with a pencil.”

The lethal former mob enforcer John Wick has much in common with the movie that bears his name. Both are lean, laconic and single-minded, heroically overachieving corpse production engines that run with understated flair and ruthless efficiency. Where the man and the vehicle diverge is in the realm of public regard. John Wick is a truly legendary killer, the type of cold steel assassin whose very mention gives significant pause to the most fearless, formidable and blood-thirsty bosses, hit men and goons the underworld could possibly belch up, a man whose reputation not only precedes him but armors and enhances him against his enemies, who are both legion and, amusingly enough, overmatched. Continue reading “Movie review: “John Wick” (2014)”

DVR Hindsight #8 (11/5/14): Sons of Anarchy backstretch

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I replaced my overworked DVR with a slick newer model about a month and a half ago, a span in which the unassuming new kid has proven himself quite a sneaky, adept, and, at times, malicious practical joker. I’m still coming to terms, in fact, with my sudden, frustrating inability to record HBO programming to DVD (discovered, to my horror, during the action-packed Golovkin-Rubio card last month), a fact that has basically stopped a personal boxing match archiving system with seven years of history and momentum behind it (and several hundred fights across dozens of DVDs) dead in its tracks. My inability to preserve fights that I paid for (via PPV or my monthly HBO subscription) is going to have a detrimental effect on my interest in and passion for the sport. That can’t help but be the case. Continue reading “DVR Hindsight #8 (11/5/14): Sons of Anarchy backstretch”