Monday, February 23

Mr. Almost Right-Side

So, three right predictions and my hope that Sean Penn would take home Best Actor was realised. Here, have the relatively alright new Xcerts single to celebrate!

DownloadThe Xcerts 'Crisis In The Slow Lane'

Friday, February 20

My Movie Script Endings

I've spent the last month or so sifting through all the big prize-movies nominated for this weekend's Academy Awards. Some have been heartening, some dispiriting. And even though politics will no doubt sadly rule who wins and loses, I've predicted who and what I think will triumph, and who and what I think should triumph...
Best Picture

Nominees: The Curious Case Of Benjamin Button, Frost/Nixon, Milk, The Reader, Slumdog Millionaire
What Should Win? Milk - By far the most impassioned of the bunch, Milk incarnated hilarity, sorrow and a well fortified real life screenplay. This represents more to the minority than Slumdog, and still leaves the watcher with a sense of optimism.
What Will Win? Slumdog Millionaire - Hollywood loves Britain right now. And though this is an inventive, uplifting script told damn skillfully, I just don't get all the hype. That guy from Skins gave a nauseous performance, and the film itself is merely alright. But it'll still win.

Best Director

Nominees: Danny Boyle, Stephen Daldry, David Fincher, Ron Howard, Gus Van Sant
Who Should Win? Gus Van Sant - The assortment of recurrent scenes highlighted the long, persevering journey in which Harvey Milk took to be elected public office. The flashes back to real San Francisco were a fascinating touch, making for his best effort since Good Will Hunting.
Who Will Win? Danny Boyle - Because it's won everything and it will again. Boyle's done rotten (The Beach, Sunshine), and he's done gold before too (Trainspotting, 28 Days Later). Slumdog is almost gold, it's just a shame because there's better competition.

Best Actor

Nominees: Richard Jenkins, Frank Lengella, Sean Penn, Brad Pitt, Mickey Rourke
Who Should Win? Sean Penn - You can probably tell by now I really liked Milk. Richard Jenkins' honest, superb showing in the as-superb The Visitor came close, but Penn was utter class as Harvey Milk. Real, intense and compelling, his best since Mystic River.
Who Will Win? Mickey Rourke - I think the reason The Wrestler wasn't in for Best Picture was because the story was so cliche, so foreseen. But this is one result I wouldn't mind occuring. Rourke pretty much made this movie, all hail his post-alcohol, post-fighting, post-probably drug-bingeing return!

Best Actress

Nominees: Anne Hathaway, Angelina Jolie, Melissa Leo, Meryl Streep, Kate Winslet
Who Should Win? Melissa Leo - Not just because I've got a feel for the underdog, but Leo's performance in Frozen River was gripping and convincing. It's a captivating movie anyway, but she made it all the more unidealised. Meryl Streep came close, though.
Who Will Win? Kate Winslet - For a bizarro, sorta pointless movie, Winslet certainly put in much endeavor for this. Still don't get the speaking-English-in-1940's-Germany, though.

DownloadDeath Cab For Cutie 'A Movie Script Ending'

Thursday, February 19

The Top 10 Funniest Comedy-Types Ever

A spate of tiffs and blowups with fellow flesh and blood's has steered to this - My ten favourite comedians ever in the whole world since time began...

10. Richard Lewis - First brought to my attention through Curb Your Enthusiasm, I met the wonderfully self-abhoring funny man after his appearance on Late Night with Conan O'Brien in New York. He was as neurotic in truth as he is on Curb. Fantastic.

9. Simon Amstell - I grew up watching Amstell's quirky guise presenting on Nickelodeon, and though the likes of Westlife, McFly and Busted did little to grab my heed via their sounds, Popworld every week was simply unmissable. He's also made a stodgy Brit-quiz like Never Mind The Buzzcocks one of the funniest shows on TV.

8. Steve Carell - Excusing his rather questionable choices of movie roles (Get Smart, Evan Almighty), Carell's Michael Scott from the US version of The Office rivals George Costanza and Ari Gold as one of the most laugh-a-minute television characters ever. And not all his film parts are bad, just think Little Miss Sunshine and The 40 Year Old Virgin.

7. John Sullivan - The second of four Brits to feature in my top ten, sure those last few eps of Only Fools And Horses were ignominious to say the least. But it still stands as one of this country's finest products, and is still about as witty and priceless today as it was when it first aired.

6. Larry Charles - He worked his directorial, writing and producing magic on Mad About You, Seinfeld, Entourage, Curb Your Enthusiasm and Borat. And Bill Maher's recent Religulous. He is the reason for the majority of my hysterics. Let's just hope he's behind Bruno.

5. Brad Garrett - Everybody Loves Raymond? More like Everybody Loves Robert. At least for me, Garrett fulfilled the hapless Robert Barone like no other self-deploring Jew could. Picking up an Emmy Award, he declared: "I just hope this award breaks down the door for Jewish people trying to get into show business!" Comedy genius.

4. Ricky Gervais - Along with Stephen Merchant, he is the man behind the greatest television show the United Kingdom has ever created. Though Extras produced disappointing results out of a great idea, and the user-friendly Ghost Town/Night At The Museum has done little for his Hollywood vocation, you just know there's more of the brilliance that spawned Brent to come.

3. Jerry Seinfeld - It was the greatest television show ever made. He was the reason for it. There's really nothing else to say.

2. Sacha Baron Cohen - In the words of HBO Executive VP Quentin Schaffer, "he delivers an obvious satire that exposes people's ignorance and prejudice". Which means not only were Ali G, Borat and the sure-to-be Bruno uproarious, but damn important too.

1. Larry David - The ultimate superhero for every nerdy, insecure, self-conscious soul in the world. And it's almost impossible to fashion up two groundbreaking TV series. But this man has. Life without Seinfeld or Curb? Unthinkable.

Friday, February 13

They Don't Love You Like I Love You

Zane Lowe played this on his show last night. I'd never heard this version before. It's beautiful.

Yeah Yeah Yeahs 'Maps (Acoustic)'

Tuesday, February 10

Blink 182: Returning Together For The Kids

For some, the thought of Blink 182 might broach urinal-based badinage, near-30 year olds sporting Dickies skater shorts, and journeying through the streets of Los Angeles stark naked. But for me, they were the most important pop punk band of the last ten years. And now, after drummer Travis Barker miraculously survived a fatal plane crash last September, they talked, they thought, and, at the Grammys last weekend, told the world “We’re back”. Or something to that accord.
Fall Out Boy. Panic At The Disco. Brand New. Alkaline Trio. Billy Talent. Good Charlotte. Sum 41. Forever The Sickest Kids. These would all still be around if Blink weren’t, just not with same amount of success strapped to their names.
It was the frankly infectious ‘Dammit’ (from their third LP ‘Dude Ranch’), which first scooped the band attention from those abroad the San Diego subterranean. Then came ‘Enema Of The State’. Barker came in to drum, MTV fell deep for the videos, ‘All The Small Things’ went Top 10 on the Billboard 100. It was the authentic ice-frosted pop-driven jubilance clutched within the likes of ‘…Small Things’, ‘What’s My Age Again?’, and ‘Adam’s Song’ that strike them just as vibrant today. I’ll admit the “I want to fuck a dog in the ass” and the “I’ll never talk to you again unless your Dad will suck me…” wordplay felt senseless after half a listen, but the pop punk sheen clasped to everything else was, well, totally awesome.
It was that what influenced your Petz Wentz’s and your Madden twins and your Deryck Whibley’s to do something comparable. Or worse in the case of the Madden’s and Whibley.
Next album ‘Take Off Your Pants and Jacket’ was generally more of the same, though the self-titled album that followed was not. Gone was the puerile tongue, in came manhood. A Blink 182 all grown-up, signifying contagious tunes and sincere witticisms. As well as the radio-chummy ‘I Miss You’, there was ‘Violence’, ‘Go’ and ‘I’m Lost Without You’. Their very best effort to date.
Overlooking the hiatus which led to the equally disappointing +44 and Angel & Airwaves in a sentence, Blink are back.
An even older and wiser Tom, Mark and Travis, primed to prove the world why they still matter. And they’re serious, which means it’ll be big.

Monday, February 9

All Is Right In The World Again

My Favourite Blink 182 SongAdam's Song

Thursday, February 5

Most Important Comedian v Most Self-Deprecating/Genius Singer

It doesn't take a mastermind to figure out Sacha Baron Cohen is The Most Important Comedian in the World. Well, maybe a very slight academic who realises that, as HBO Exec Vice Prez' Quentin Schaffer notes, through the alter-egos of Ali G, Borat and Bruno "he delivers an obvious satire that exposes people's ignorance and prejudice," which is way more meaningful, smarter and knee-slappingly mirthful than the efforts of say, Seth Rogen.

So, when two of my favourite geniuses have words with each other backstage at a big awards-based spectacle over a pair of one of those geniuses' trousers, it makes for some fine, fine YouTube.

Animal Collective 'Summertime Clothes'
Stereophonics 'She Takes Her Clothes Off'
Kings Of Leon 'Taper Jean Girl'
Nada Surf 'Your Legs Grow'

Wednesday, February 4

Chew On This

Dis is well tight, my bitches. Well tight.

Chew Lips 'Solo'
Chew Lips MySpace

Sunday, February 1

Album Of Last Month

Fight Like Apes 'Fight Like Apes And The Mystery Of The Golden Medallion' (Model Citizen)

Singer Maykay enjoys wriggling about her stained, unwashed hair atop mucky stage floors, synth-sparkler Pockets is named after an enslavement to pocketing ciggie lighters, and they play a tune entirely devoted to Jake Summers from 90s teen-sitcom California Dreams. Ipso facto, Dublin four-piece Fight Like Apes are not in dullsville. And this debut album, albeit one month in, is far and wide my album of the year. It's indie-pop shiny thankfully short of that evil, mercenary catch. "You're like Kentucky Fried Chicken but without the taste"! "I have a pocket full of fists, you got a stupid face"! "Hey cutie what's with your nose, take the focus off, take off your clothes"! FLA are blessed with first class gibberish wordplay and ludicrously candied dance-punk. Forget the radio, lets go get these a cult!

Best SongJake Summers
Fight Like Apes MySpace