Monday, December 27, 2010

Frank's Top Ten of Everything 2010 : Day Two


The Wild and Wonderful Whites of West Virginia - USA - Julien Nitberg

I can tell you I never expected a documentary from Jackass production company Dickhouse to be one of my favorite movies of the year. The idea of following around a family of backward hillbillies (self confessed) sounds like a subject ripe for exploitation. Surprisingly the film does it's best to showcase the eccentricities of this very large family with out glorifying their self destructive lifestyle. With out getting too sanctimonious here, these people are scum. While I would never want to hang out and pop prescription drugs with these folks, it is fascinating to be a fly on the wall at a family dinner. I never got a sense that the White's were playing to the camera, the kind of trashy they embody can not faked. 


Nite Jewel - Am I Real?

Fantastic little E.P. that sees Ramona Gonzalez  beefing up the Nite Jewel line-up by adding two additional band members. The inclusion of new blood really helps to flesh out Nite Jewel's output which in the past had me banging my hear against the wall in my bedroom just as mush as it had me dancing. The songs retain the hazy navel gazing vibe heard before but  have been beefed up courtesy of clean production and funky bass lines. Can't wait to see them at Nx35 this year.

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Frank's Top Ten of Everything 2010 : Day One

So the idea of trying to stay on top of movie releases in Dallas didn't work out. It was a pretty dumb idea to begin with. Fear not! I have decided to move on with the site, but now it will be a general purpose blog about my favorite things happening in movies and music and shit. This new format will not be ready until February due to my time restraints but I whipped together this best of everything list for 2010. Everyday until January 1st I will be posting a new batch of my favorite things from the year, in no particular order. Hope you get turned on to something you weren't cool enough to know about yet. Please endure any and all typos (the nog is flowing free in the Phosphate house!) and thanks for reading!


The American - USA - Anton Corbijn

This the first film for director Anton Corbijn since his acclaimed Joy Division bio-pic Control. In place of the once thought un-filmable Ian Curtis, the French director takes on the not so difficult roll of filming George Clooney as the titular death dealing international Playboy. Audience members expecting another Bourne like high octane romp will be very disappointed by The American's slow, methodical pace and deliberate with holding of exposition. Unlike the herky-jerky Greengrass cam that has permeated the international intrigue genre, The American is composed of beautiful, fixed shots across the high definition worthy Swedish and Italian country sides. The events play out like a Mellivile or Antonioni film, very slow but with an attention to detail that drives the plot instead of ham fisted story telling. Even though I am making it sound like the film consist of Clooney reading Proust under a Spruce tree, there is still a healthy amount of gun play and nudity to be found. You can sell it to your Dad by referring to it as a "thinking man's" action movie. This is one of the few films recently to actually live up to the often thrown about label.


Mark Ronson and the Business International - Record Collection

Mark Ronson has gained a reputation in Europe as a snide bastard and a ruthless Playboy, which is totally understandable after listening to his second solo release. The dude's got it going on. Through out the course of the album, Ronson and crew make their way through nearly every pop music genre and sub genre of the past 30 years. Some how in this mish mash of retro styles, Ronson created an album that sounds totally contemporary at the same time. Having read more about his exploits in Rolling Stone than actually hearing his music, I expected the album to be more of a megalomaniacal outing than it is. Yes, Ronson does sing on a few tracks and the production can be more than a little showy, but it is the strength and variety of guest artist such as Q-Tip, Ghostface Killah, Simon LeBon, Boy George, ex-Pipette Rose Dougall and Spank Rock among others that elevates this album from ego-trip to party record of the year. I think the scatter shot nature of the album threw some reviewers off leading to a lackluster release when the album hit stateside. It's a shame smart and fun pop music like this will never stand a chance on the U.S. pop charts.


Cuckoo Byrds

For the past couple of years Time Bandits owners and all round Denton power couple David and Lisa have been soaking in the sights and sounds of the local music scene while quietly banging away at their instruments in the back of their vintage clothing/record shop which also doubles as their home. What the duo have created in that time is some of the freshest and genre defying music the scene has seen in awhile. Of the many Cuckoo Byrds' performances I had the pleasure of attending, my favorite would have to be the infamous Mabel Peabdodys performance which literally brought the show to a stop. The music may be difficult, but it is just what the music scene needs right now. The recent addition of Christian Teenage Runaway/Orange Coax vocalist Sashenka Lopez with her  kinetic stage presence and anarchist pen, will without a doubt  lead to great things for the Byrds in 2011.


Bored to Death Season Two - HBO

The first season of this half hour detective comedy series never really grabbed me. I appreciated the dark humor and perfectly cast ensemble, but something about the underlying premises fell flat for me. Series creator really stepped it up this season by focusing more on the 'side-kick' characters played by Ted Danson and Zach Galifinakis. The wacky trio, rounded out by Jason Shwartzman, find themselves getting into all kind of adult themed situations centered around solving mysteries for celebrity guest stars. The surprise plot turn that Ted Danson's character took this season was a great touch and helped to level the show which frequently becomes too wrapped up in the absurd.

(any format)

The Larry Sanders Show: The Complete Series

The funniest show ever created finally on DVD. Wish the transfer on this release wasn't so poorly done, but they still look much better than my worn out VHS copies.