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Surveillance

The Bounty Hunter

Aniston on the run. Gerard Butler as Mel Gibson. V 80s inflight trash .


#Screened
#Film
#chimp71

15th May 2011

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Observe And Report

I observe that's it's crap and report it for being lame.


#Screened
#Film
#chimp71

24th Jul 2010

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Citay

Dream Get Together

Dead Oceans

This record is, I guess, the equivalent of a group of young London musicians getting together to re-create the "swinging sound of Carnaby Street" or something else that only existed in the minds of scriptwriters. Citay are from San Francisco, and so this painfully
retro album has its feet not exactly planted (more levitating) on the corner where Haight meets Ashbury, in like,1967.

The album art should serve as a warning - chocolate box graphics of a hot air balloon flying over a sunny coastline. Big happy vocal harmonies from the commercial end of the SF Summer of Love overlayed with Allman Brothers twin lead guitar - throughout. Baffling - exactly the sort of music the Mothers Of Invention were lampooning even back in 1967. Technically, these boys might think they sound like Allman and Betts, but the guitar sound is a whack modern equivalent played rather too accurately (it sounds more like a single pointy-headstock guitar through a harmonizer, not a couple of good ol' boys cookin' up a storm).

Well perhaps it's just too difficult for a cynical Englishman sitting at home during the coldest winter we've had in 30 years to imagine a warm Californian breeze, but I'm not going for this big bunch o' corn. The contents of this CD (songs, vocals, guitar, production) have all been done better elsewhere. 40 years ago.

Grumpy Pilton

#Music
#HarrisPilton

18th Jan 2010 - Add Comment - Tweet

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Year One

Harold Ramis

Totally tedious outing from the Apatow school of comedy. Hey, what if Jack Black and Michael Cera were like totally cavedudes? And what if they bumped into Cain and Abel? And what if they were like, totally played by David Cross and Paul Rudd? Would hilarious results ensue with total dudely charm? 

You get the idea. In fact, it's all in the trailer. All the good gags (which seem a lot less funny when they're all the film really has) are in the trailer. See that. Avoid this with a prehistoric stick. Once we get to Sodom (hmm, wonder if they'll get any jokes out of that?) the whole thing descends into one of those pointless comedy chase/bust-up/big fights that really make no sense at all. There's an evil king who keeps sacrificing virgins! There's a camp evil high priest! There are fart jokes! Gay jokes! Cera ends up pissing on himself upside down!

It's a shame to see Black and Cera, two naturally talented performers with a good sense of comic timing reduced to the basest level of their (admittedly limited) ranges. Black's all wacky loser guy; Cera's a clever mumbler. It's not enough here. 

Please don't make Year Two.

#Film
#chimp71

19th Jun 2009 - Add Comment - Tweet

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Horne & Corden

BBC Three

Shameful attempt to translate the Gavin & Stacey boys' appeal into the sketch show format. Anyone who sat through their woeful efforts during this year's Brits might have some idea of what to expect here; but for those of you who managed to avoid it, get ready to watch the licence fee dribbling away. 

Lots of the jokes are based on the fact that James Corden is a large chap. Have you noticed? Look! There's his belly wobbling! Look! There he is ruining a relay race because he can't run that fast. Look! There's his belly wobbling again! Hilarious.

More disturbing is their decision to revive the not-missed tradition of gay jokes on British TV. Haven't seen anything this openly and boringly homophobic for years. Ever wondered what would happen if you sent a gay reporter to Afghanistan? Ooh, guess what, he'd be totally camp and mince about making jokes about keeping the boys in the troops happy fnar fnar. What if you had Spiderman and Superman getting changed in front of each other? Oooh they'd be really embarrassed to be naked in front of each other snigger snigger. What if you had a perfume ad that was totally about two gay men in love with each other - it's even called something charming like Eau De Fag. 

Then there's a desperately ill-judged sketch about gun crime to round it all off.

It's smug, boorish, crass and a classic example of buying into hype without wondering if there's any talent there to back it up. Can't imagine what they're going to do for the next five episodes. Some hilarious fat gays jokes maybe. 

#TV
#chimp71

5th Mar 2009 - 3 comments - Add Comment - Tweet

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Fucked Up

The Chemistry Of Common Life

Matador

The word "fuck" has become more acceptable throughout the "noughties", leading to bands casually incorporating this once offensive descriptive word. Not too far in the distant past I recall a dreadful funk metal band having to drop the fuck from their name to be replaced with funk; it was fortunate that their songs featured a sprinkling of slap bass. We currently have a batch of bands that incorporate fuck but this does not necessarily define the band to fit a obvious category of music, for example Fuck Buttons and Holy Fuck. Fucked Up in contrast are far more blatant with their intent: they are what it states on the tin - or in this instance on the album cover.

Having spent my teenage years influenced by then present and past performers of hardcore, both Minor Threat and Guerrilla Biscuits are two bands that I still listen to and have great affection for. It has on occasion briefly crossed my mind if any bands had emerged and managed to give this genre a kiss of life - unfortunately Fucked Up fall flat on their angry faces.

Hailing from Toronto, Fucked Up have been banging out their high brow hardcore since 2002, releasing numerous singles and producing energetic memorable live performances. Kicking off their second full length album with a pointless eighties thrash album tactic of beginning a song with a flute or a gentle tinkle of piano keys which is predictably kicked aside with the subtly of a hammer. As an indication of how unadventurous and dull The Chemistry Of Common Life is, the first few seconds are the highlight.

It is annoying to hear a supposedly aggressive band sound so boring. The guitars sound weak and lack any energy or ferocity, vocalist Pink Eyes (all the band have wacky names) is very reminiscent of Nick Sakes from the Dazzling Killmen which is a comparison to a more complex and far superior band.

Fucked Up did make me annoyed but that was due to having to listen to such offensively inoffensive music.

#Music
#R.Hammerstein

22nd Oct 2008 - Add Comment - Tweet

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Weezer

Weezer (a.k.a. The Red Album)

2008

The game is up. I'm not gonna take it anymore. Since 2000's self-titled third album (AKA "The Green Album"), Weezer have been distracting me with the smoke and mirrors of the catchy single/great video combo, while sneaking out a sub-standard album peppered with holes. Hash Pipe provided the magic for that album, while Dope Nose led off Maladroit and Beverly Hills pulled the wool over our eyes for Make Believe.

In fact, that only leaves two albums worth mentioning. The debut "Blue Album" snuck under the radar back in '94 - admittedly backed up by great videos. Follow-up Pinkerton might explain much, as it was universally panned by both critics and fans, before growing in stature to become Weezer's undisputed masterpiece - and one of my own all-time favourites. Auteur band leader River Cuomo laid bare his emotional soul over the Madame Butterfly-themed concept album, but the backlash was what almost certainly forced Cuomo back into the proverbial cave, convincing him to spend the rest of his life in tortured purgatory, writing inane troubled-pop star melodrama.

Couple that with the fact that every album since Pinkerton has made a fortune and the maths of spending a reported million dollars recording this pile of crap are hard to deny. Baring your soul for pennies is no one's idea of fun.

But, here lies the main problem. 4 albums later, while the guitars crunch onwards all he ever seems to tell us is how troubled he is and how the critics don't understand - but the more songs he writes about the critics not understanding, the shorter and shorter the patience runs. "No more words will critics have to speak" sing the band on the faux operatic The Greatest Man That Ever Lived (Variations On A Shaker Hymn), re-working the classroom classic with little improvement. If the troubled soul isn't airing it's dirty laundry, it's mucho macho ironic chest-beating ...leading to the stunning rhyme of 'be-atch' with 'ki-ads'. While these inane rhyming couplets provide some amusiment in places, you'll generally be laughing at them, not with them.

Just when you might think Rivers' has stooped as low as he can go, he commits this albums mortal sin: letting the other guys have a go too. Thought I Knew finds guitarist Brian Bell taking the vocals for a slice of trite disco-pop, while drummer Pat Wilson takes lead vocals on Automatic. I dare you to find a more bland slice of by-the-numbers modern rock.

There's a whole bunch of different bonus tracks and what-not, depending on where you buy this record. They manage not to totally massacre a cover of The Band's The Weight and the Broadway musical rock of Miss Sweeney provides some entertaining role-playing as Cuomo smooth-talks his secretary in enjoyingly mis-rhymed lyrics. Heart Songs provides a slightly naff, but mildly touching highlight to the album, as Cuomo takes us through the songs that shaded his past, with the music changing and evolving as the time line progresses. Unfortunatly he wrote himself out of my Heart Songs several albums ago.

#Music
#CSF

16th Jun 2008 - 5 comments - Add Comment - Tweet

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Times New Viking

Rip It Off

Matador Records

There's lo-fi, and then there's TNV. I can't see the point, really. There might be some good tunes buried in this collection somewhere, but who's to say? I simply can't get past the TRULY APPALLING sound. The way I understand it, lo-fi is more of a musical ethic rather than a description of sonic qualities, but in the case of TNV it's taken much more as a literal way of life.

It's like being played a demo recorded on a cassette tape by someone who didn't know how to set the input levels. The entire signal is broken up and overloaded across the whole mix, thereby reducing the definition of any single instrument - you can't hear any bass frequencies for example. It's like being shouted at for half an hour, or played a sex pistols bootleg down a bad phone line. So much so, in fact, that it's just too wearing to pay close attention to. I don't want to have to wade through a river or crackle to reach the music, after all, it's supposed to be about the songs isn't it?

Perhaps TNV would be pleased to hear me say all this - yeah! Punk Rock! You know, if this stupid reviewer can't be bothered to extract the tunes, then he's missing the point and we don't want him as a fan. Well, if that's the case then fair enough. But folks, since someone's gone to all the trouble of releasing this record it might have been better to put something out that people might want to listen to more than once. Any chance of remixing it a bit cleaner...?

#Music
#HarrisPilton

6th May 2008 - Add Comment - Tweet

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iLIKETRAINS

Elegies to Lessons Learnt

Beggars Banquet

Having never heard or heard of iLiKETRAiNS, I was instantly appalled at how they chose to present their already wacky name. Making it one word was bad enough but to then have all the i’s lowercase screamed of a desperation to be unique. This pretentious attempt at making a statement is understandable, given that every band needs a name. To coin a phrase I decided not to judge a book by it’s cover, so I approached the first album by the Leeds based with little preconception.

To describe the iLiKETRAiNS sound would be best in one word, miserable. The entire album travels along at a snails pace, any descents and peaks are very slow to emerge.  The overall sound is also in no way unique and is very reminiscent of Explosions in the Sky or Mogwai and many other instrumental post rock outfits.  They never touch the heights of the aforementioned bands, but they do unfortunately have the addition of a vocalist. If the guitars, bass and drums sound dead, the singing only adds another dire dimension to the setup. Sung low, slow and very flat there is little reason to care for the lyrical content.

After listening to the album from start to finish just the once, I had an overwhelming feeling of life been too short to have to put myself through these eleven painful songs again. I have dipped in and out of the album hoping to catch myself off-guard and hear a song I could stomach, but I'm afraid it has never really happened - with only instrumental track Epiphany even coming close.

#Music
#R.Hammerstein

22nd Nov 2007 - 5 comments - Add Comment - Tweet

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Die Hard 4.0

(dir. Len Wiseman)

The original Die Hard movie is up there with the best action movies. Die Hard 4.0 is down there with the worst.

Bruce Willis claimed that he would only make this film when the story was right. They clearly offered him so much money he couldn't say no. From the off it just didn't feel like a Die Hard movie. There was no intriguing build-up as we have previously had with the villains enacting their plan, no reluctance from Willis to save the day (again), and no wit or real humour. Within minutes of the start, John McClane is battling it out against numerous submachine guns. From then on in it was just a string of stunts culminating in a ridiculous finale in which he takes on a US fighter jet (including jumping on and off it whilst it hovers in mid air).

Die Hard 4.0 was more like Under Siege 3.0. but Seagal must have turned it down.

This reviewer is giving it 1.0

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#CJ

5th Nov 2007 - 3 comments - Add Comment - Tweet

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Ween

The Friends EP

Schnitzel

Where can you begin when describing Ween? Like a friend who's the life and soul of the party, they often end up puking in the punch bowl and making out with your cousin. You know you should just stop hanging out with them, but you're always too ready to just give them one more chance.

Ween have always made a genre out of having no genre, but as the band seem ever hungry to (re)conquer 'new' territory they can be a little hard to pin down. With the opening salvo of Friends sounding like an Estonian entry into the Eurovision song contest I think It's safe to say that every genre has now been covered. Sounding note for note like a raved up Barbie Girl, only the lyrics serve as a clue that this is no what it seems. "Do you want me as your special friend?"

...or maybe I'm just believing the hype about Ween. Often lauded as superb musicians, I am forever finding myself waiting for that one serious (OK, maybe not serious, but at least less inside-joke-orientated) album. I have personally heard moments of their brilliance (Stay Forever, What Deaner Was Talkin' About, If You Could Save Yourself... ) and I know that a classic album is in there - they just seem reluctant to let it out. Like a west coast KLF, they are constantly playing the fool - poking fun and showing us just how easy it is to make all kinds of music, yet never quite letting us inside the circle. What do they actually want to sound like? What do they actually like? The psuedo-reggae of King Billy? The latin groove of Light Me Up? Or maybe the 80's soft-rock or Slow Down Boy, which never quite hits yacht? Hopefully it's the classic rock of Did You See Me, currently playing on their Myspace page.

It may be (yet) another mis-step, but this won't stop me looking and yet again I'll just put this one down to a funny joke and wait for the album proper - La Cucaracha which is due in the Autumn. That's bound to be the one to finally unleash the inner Ween.

#Music
#CSF

26th Jul 2007 - 1 comments - Add Comment - Tweet

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Hollywood Homicide

Ron Shelton

Two cops, more interested in pursuing other careers, search for the killer after a nightclub murder. Harrison Ford makes one movie per year these days making this choice inexplicable. It really is that bad..

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#CJ

1st Jul 2007 - Add Comment - Tweet

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Patti Smith

Twelve

Columbia

2005's Meltdown: Songs of Experience should have provided a few clues, but Patti Smith's highly rated Horses show at the same festival suggested she still had game.

The New York avant-garde punker returns here with a 12 track covers album, inventively called "Twelve", showing both the roots and modern tastes of the musical legend. Sadly, it's a depressingly familiar affair, with un-inventive renditions of predictable tunes such as White Rabbit, Are You Experienced?, Gimme Shelter or Soul Kitchen.

Helpless is the closest thing to vaguely interesting, mainly because it's such a simple song it seems hard for a good voice like Patti's to drop the ball. Dylan's Changing Of The Guards is passable, mainly as I'm not so familiar with that song. Smells Like Teen Spirit is totally out of touch, while Gangsta's Paradise is just embarrassing.

Unless you like listening to passable karaoke stay well clear.

#Music
#CSF

16th Apr 2007 - 3 comments - Add Comment - Tweet

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Timbaland

Timbaland Presents Shock Value

Unfortunately this latest offering from the apparent genius producer Timbaland proves that no album is the sum of its parts alone. It's another dream-team album featuring the same old names, Timbalake, Furtado, Missy Elliot, Dr Dre, 50 Cent and some new ones that really have no business here, like The Hives and Fall Out Boy. Put alongside the work this guy has done on other peoples records, Shock Value suggests that Timbaland can dish out advice but just can't take it.

It all starts off so well with Oh Timbaland making great use of a Nina Simone Sinnerman sample and the catchy Give It To Me with Nelly Furtado, but then Timbalake's effort Release signals a steady decline into monotonous, forgettable tripe - out of which the album struggles to pull itself. Not surprisingly the absolute ground zero of all this crap comes with the Fall Out Boy collaboration One & Only, but actually having said that, if we're judging between levels of shitness it's hard to separate any of the final 3 tracks. Timbaland has worked with many of these artists before and this album sounds like a sweep up from their cutting room floor. The one star rating here is earned in the first track alone along with Timbalake's gaul to ask us in the closing track, "Don't it sound good to ya, don't you agree."

#Music
#HHG

10th Apr 2007 - Add Comment - Tweet

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Zoolander

(dir.Ben Stiller)

Paramount

I watched Zoolander last night after being constantly told how much I'd love it. It was shit. No redeeming features. If there was an option for zero stars it would get it. What's the dealio yo?

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#CSF

6th Dec 2006 - 2 comments - Add Comment - Tweet

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James Yorkston

Year Of The Leopard

2006 is shaping up to be another fine year for music with releases from old veterans like Yo La Tengo and Grandaddy more than fulfilling expectations. But it definitely lacks a few things that we all need. After their stunning tour and appetising glimpses of new songs we need another Radiohead album and it's been so long since A Ghost Is Born that I think everyone would agree that we certainly need a new Wilco album but as Mr Yorkson shuffles his feet up to the plate to make his mark on this year it soon becomes clear that we don't need Year Of The Leopard. I don't come to this opinion lightly as I am a huge fan of Yorkston's honest and strangely uplifting style of folk but this new offering seems to lack all those attributes and is dull to say the least. A great deal of (dish) water has trickled under the bridge in the world of nu-folk since Yorkston's beautiful second album Just Beyond The River, so to emerge after 2 years with this is just not good enough.

We were dazzled by his presence at the Homefires festival and it was clear that he was a trailblazer for the impressively low key yet fiercely progressive Fence Collective, but since then his subordinates have lapped him in creativity and even though he pumps out new music all the time I could certainly handle another King Creosote album.

Yorkston has eased off on the lush orchestration that layered his previous albums opting instead for Homefires organiser Adem's stripped down style of drowsy folk and that's where the problem lies. Where Adem's voice has the intimate closeness that commands your attention, Yorkston just seems too tired or bored to command anything and before all you blinkered fans out there argue that Yorkston's understated and low-key style is the what makes his music work I would have to refer you to the latest Jason Molina offering or fellow Domino artist Bonnie "Prince" Billy as examples of just how captivating this style of music can be.

Each song follows the same structure with delicate finger picking ushering in hushed, whispering vocals until a feint swell of violins brings the whole thing to an easy close only to begin again and again. The Athletes seem to have all but disappeared and the only song that strives to break from this structure is the aptly titled Woozy With Cider, where Yorkston uses ill considered spoken word to tell his crazy tales of drunken debauchery.

Year Of The Leopard just proves that in a highly competitive market, feet shuffling simply won't do and illustrates perfectly the phrase 'If you snooze, you lose.'

#Music
#BC

7th Oct 2006 - 3 comments - Add Comment - Tweet

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The Black Dahlia

(dir. Brian De Palma)

Brian De Palma's adaptation of James Elroy's 1987 novel was a hotly anticipated affair. The story of the infamous and brutal murder of 22 year old aspiring actress, Elizabeth Short, was dubbed 'unfilmable' in 1947 - and remains so after this appalling waste of time.

The film follows two tough cops on the hunt for the killer responsible for a crime that rocked Hollywood at the time, mainly due to the gruesome state the victim was found in. Cut in half, disembowelled and sliced from the mouth to both ears, Short's murder attracted a media frenzy. In response, the police department put their most celebrated cops on the case. Nicknamed Mr. Fire and Mr. Ice after their successful careers as boxers, these two soon find the public spotlight brings with it unbearable pressure from every angle to see this case through to a conviction. Lee Blanchard (Aaron Eckhart), the gung-ho half of the duo, becomes strangely consumed by the case - much to the worry of his troubled wife … played here by Scarlett Johansson, His partner, Dwight "Bucky" Bleichert (Josh Harnett), assumes the role of the younger, naive cop who isn't fazed by the celebrity status, but just wants to see his idealistic view of justice done.

I would be here all day if I tried to divulge how the plot progresses from here and to be honest I'm not too sure myself. The story is packed full of subplot upon subplot to the point of utter confusion. Elroy's previous screen adaptation L.A. Confidential is just as complicated, but it is written and acted with such skill that you really engage with the characters and try hard to follow them through the complex web of double-crosses and deceit. The opposite is the case here - as the acting is amateur, with each performance rarely rising above a stereotype depiction of 40's film noir cop movies. To be honest I never expected much from Hartnett but I had imagined that the presence of Oscar Winner Hilary Swank would inject a touch of quality to the proceedings, but unfortunately not. To describe Johansson's performance as wooden would be an insult to Pinocchio. The only exception here is Mia Krishner's mesmerising scenes as Betty Short, seen in flash backs and found screen tests. She is dazzlingly beautiful and her deeply innocent and desperately sad eyes give you a clue as to why so many real life detectives became obsessed with this case.

The film as a whole is visually stunning, but style is never a wise substitute for content and despite the dazzling aesthetics De Palma fails to convince his audience of the depth and seriousness of his characters or the period in which they exist. In 1982 Steve Martin did a far better job in Dead Men Don't Wear Plaid and that was a spoof, not to mention Bugsy Malone.

#Film
#BC

21st Sep 2006 - 2 comments - Add Comment - Tweet

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The Evidence

(Season One)

You see some clues. Then the crime unfolds. Then some cops w issues solve it. Will you solve it before them? Probably. Martin Landau wears a Warhol wig. Like one of those Swords and Sorcery books for eight year olds. Only not as involving.

#TV
#chimp71

21st Aug 2006 - Add Comment - Tweet

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Spinto Band

Fopp, Camden, London

In the abscence of dark lighting, a PA system, a raised stage and alcohol - the Spinto Band sounded like a bunch of special kids let loose in music class. Plus, we were the oldest there by about ten years.

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#chimpovich

15th Aug 2006 - Add Comment - Tweet

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Golden Smog

Another Fine Day

The title to this record sums it up perfectly. The operative word being 'Fine.' It describes a state that is neither really bad nor really good. And it's 'Another' fine day, which hints at a monotonous state of fineness that goes on and on in a Groundhog Day fashion, never improving or getting worse. It's the kind of state where life just passes you by and you don't notice it. This is just what tends to happen to this record. It is yet another under-par offering from the apparent "Super Group" consisting of members of Soul Asylum, The Replacements, The Jayhawks and Wilco. Wilco's Jeff Tweedy's stocks have risen sharply in recent times and as a result his input here is minimal. When he does grace us with his presence he gives us the 2 best songs on the album, Long Time Ago and Listen Joe are classic Tweedy but they only serve to highlight the blandness of the rest of the songs.

When playing Another Fine Day in my car I had to turn it down so people didn't think I was listening to Crowded House. That's not a good sign.

#Music
#BC

7th Aug 2006 - Add Comment - Tweet

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Peeping Tom

Peeping Tom

When you read any review or press release about this album you will get the same line time after time. "This is Mike Patton's long awaited album heralding a return to his mainstream form." Well that may be so, but I am glad I wasn't holding my breath for the past 5 years. You know when you rediscover an album you used to like from your reckless heavy metal days, then while listening to it the nostalgia wears off and you realise why you stopped liking that stuff in the first place - you grew up. Peeping Tom is a similar listening experience. It sounds immature and dated, despite the guest list - which includes such visionaries as Anticon's Dose One and Odd Nosdam, plus hip hop legends Kool Keith and Dan The Automator.

I was a big fan of Faith No More and although my favourite album was "Introduce Yourself," with Chuck Moseley on vocals before Patton took over I am still so disappointed with this offering. If I had to pick some highlights then I would say 'Mojo' is one of the stronger songs although I am so bored of people like Rahzel the human beatbox, making weird sounds with your mouth, big deal, Jones from Police Academy soon killed off that little party trick. The only reason I would pick out 'Sucker' as another highlight is because it features Starbucks very own yawn-tastic Norah Jones saying Mother Fucker. Not really a good reason to like a song I know - but hey, I like Mr. Patton and am clutching at straws here.

#Music
#BC

4th Jul 2006 - 9 comments - Add Comment - Tweet

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The New Pornographers

Twin Cinema

I really can’t understand why everybody is wetting themselves over this album. Pitchfork gave it 9/10. That means it’s one point off Wilco’s A Ghost Is Born. No chance. It’s so flat and unoriginal. Vocals are uninspiring and, as CSF rightly pointed out, songs like My Street sound like an Andrew Lloyd Webber musical, and not even a good one like Starlight Express, which ruled. I am however reserving judgement and if I come around to popular opinion then I will rewrite this review but until that time the official statement from Chimpomatic HQ is that it sucks.

#Music
#BC

28th Apr 2006 - Add Comment - Tweet

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Elizabethtown

(dir. Cameron Crowe)

After losing $1 Billion on behalf of the Oregon-based sneaker company (?!) he works for, hotshot designer Orlando Bloom thinks about killing himself - before the death of his father leads him on a journey of self-discovery to check out his roots in old Kentucky. On the way he meets a hottie airline steward (Kirsten Dunst), who makes him realise just how swell life can be.

It could have been a lot quicker if he'd succeeded with the early suicide, as this was pretty painful for all involved. The basic premise is a bit cheesy, but could have been really well done in an indie movie. Cameron Crowe's heavy handed recent form just pummels any glimmer of hope into distant oblivion, aided and abetted by the truly awful Orlando Bloom and a pretty average Kirsten Dunst. I only realised quite how bad the acting had been when an OK scene from Susan Sarandon seemed like the best acting I had seen in years.

Musical references are squeezed into the film at every unsuitable moment but the highlight was, of course, My Morning Jacket's appearance as the cousin's reformed band 'Ruckus', who play a blinding cover of Freebird as a tribute to the old man at his funeral.

#Film
#CSF

20th Mar 2006 - 2 comments - Add Comment - Tweet

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Subway

(dir. Luc Besson)

always intrigued by this film, commonly held to be a cult classic. well, the poster was a staple of 80s student decoration kits along with betty blue and the big blue. think i had in mind it was some existential sci-fi or something. what a pile of le merde. totally plotless. christopher lambert and isabelle adjani arse about in some cool subterranean world on le metro spouting le crap, avoiding les flics and drinking les coffees and vauguely falling in l'amour while jean reno droops around in the background with a dumb moustache drumming on everything. best thing is christopher lambert's uncanny resemblance to stewart copeland, but that's not really enough to keep you going.

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#chimp71

24th Jul 2005 - Add Comment - Tweet

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Television

Queen Elizabeth Hall, London

I got into Television through the copious "thanks" notes in the Minutemen's Ballot Result album, along with Creedence, Wire, X, Richard Hell and more. The chances of ever seeing them live were always pretty slim, so this gig at the Patti Smith curated Meltdown festival was a high priority. Richard Hell was also in the festival and for a brief moment I even thought he might be rejoining Television for the night. As it turns out he was wise to get out when he did, as this was one of the most dissapointing gigs I've ever been to.

Shows kick of pretty punctually at the QEH, and it's all seating - which never helps with the atmosphere of a rock concert. Television came on with no support, but to much adulation from the crowd. They then played for about 90 minutes, mainly focusing on their much lesser know 90's songs from the album Television, plus a few of the best tracks on Marquee Moon. They seemed very unrehearsed and totally at odds with each other on stage. Tom Verlaine's authority as band leader was sadly lacking... plus he couldn't get his guitar tuned properly (a chimp75 pet gripe), trying between almost every song. Guitarist Richard Lloyd held things together for a while with some guitar hero solos, before he also fell to tuning issues and started blowing a few clams. Most songs wandered of in 'interesting' directions before generally grinding to an abrupt halt. Even Marquee Moon itself was pretty lacklustre, and while the crowd were urging the gig to be great it just never took off.

The band cut off stage pretty abruptly, before returning for an encore with Patti Smith - which focused things a bit, with a version of You I Rate. That was followed by a rockin intro to a cover of the Count Five's Psychotic Reaction, before Verlaine seemed to realise he didn't know the rest of the lyrics. That final song just melted away... and it was over.

#Music
#Gig
#CSF

25th Jun 2005 - Add Comment - Tweet

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The Keep

(dir. Michael Mann)

Possibly the dumbest film to be shown in the Chimp Towers screening room. Nazi fog, Ian McKellan with a floating American accent even though he's supposed to be some Romanian mystic dude, lots of glowing eyes, and Tangerine Dream testing out their new-fangled synths all over the soundtrack. Almost worth watching to the end to see how stupid it gets.

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#chimp71

4th Jan 2005 - Add Comment - Tweet

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Vanilla Sky

(dir. Cameron Crowe)

A rich playboy is disfigured in a car crash shortly after meeting the girl of his dreams. Then is it a dream/it isn't a dream..? Who cares.

I'd heard this was bad, but I just didn't listen. I like Cameron Crowe, Jason Lee is always good (since Video Days) and even Tom Cruise is usually OK. It started off reasonably enough, once you get used to the fact that Tom Cruise and Jason Lee might be friends. The dream/reality thing was pretty student-film-like in a predictably-unpredictable kind of way, but then when you got to the 'twist' it was just shit, possibly deteriorating into the worst film I've seen since What Dreams May Come. And that was BAAAD.

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4th Jun 2004 - Add Comment - Tweet

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Eraser

(dir. Chuck Russell)

Jesus christ, this was some of the most hair-brained shit I've ever seen in my life. The highlight had to be Arnie playing chicken with a Lear Jet (seemingly travelling at around 5mph) while parachuting down to New York.... although the kid where he landed did provide some light relief:

Arnie: "Where am I?"
Kid: "Earth. Welcome"

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22nd May 2004 - Add Comment - Tweet

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Empire Records

(dir. Allan Moyle)

A bunch of wacky "Generation X" types working in a record store race to find $9000 to save the store from a corporate takeover.

I watched this hoping for some good soundtrack action in the vein of Pretty In Pink or High Fidelity. Instead I got a couple of shit covers and Gwar. The closest thing to cool was a Rhino Records sticker on the toilet wall.

Renee Zellweger, Maxwell Caulfield and Liv Tyler are amongst the cast members embarrassing themselves, plus Rory Cochrane from C.S.I. Miami (AKA ROn the stoner from Dazed and Confused) and Anthony LaPaglia from Without a Trace. Bruckheimer obviouly liked this movie.

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29th Dec 2003 - Add Comment - Tweet

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Bad Boys

(dir. Michael Bay)

Will Smith and Martin Lawrence play two badass, wisecracking, unconventional cops on the trail of some stolen heroin. Jerry Bruckheimer is in full blown, pre-CSI, Top Gunesque brown filter mode. This is crap. Like Beverley Hills Cop III on steroids.

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7th Oct 2003 - Add Comment - Tweet

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Bringing Down The House

(dir. Adam Shankman)

I had the misfortune of sitting through this pile of crap on a plane, before sleeping became a much better way of killing 90 minutes. I can only comment on the first half of the movie, but a child could plot the undoubted outcome.

Stiff-white-guy lawyer Steve Martin meets sassy-streetwise-homegirl Queen Latifah through a case of misrepresentation in an Internet chatroom. She needs his lawyer help to clear her name. He wants a new girlfriend. 90 minutes of lame fish-out-of-water comedy later they no doubt realise it's what's inside that counts and live happily ever after.

This was such a Steve Martin-by-numbers script, that a computer could have written it. They didn't even bother spening any time setting the scene - the whole chatroom episode was wrapped up before the opening titles finished. None of the side splitting comedy of The Jerk or Planes, Trains and Automobiles.

"Those aren't pillows!"

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1st Oct 2003 - Add Comment - Tweet

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