Asceticism, angst, and ennui – with Alain Delon!

I’m gone four days and hell breaks loose… As Stephen Holden wrote today, Ingmar Bergman, and now Michaelangelo Antonioni, belong to cinema’s past, of a time when going to the(ir) movies was a ritual akin to attending high Mass: attending was soul-cleansing. Their asceticism, while often overwrought (and cramped compared to their contemporary Luis Bunuel’sContinue reading “Asceticism, angst, and ennui – with Alain Delon!”

Of cigar stands and incandescent guillotines

I envy anyone who gets to hear Pavement for the first time. This reminds me, despite Mallory’s claims, that they were a lot like their detractors said they were, and a great deal more besides. Warming to them around the time of Brighten The Corners — whose title remains the straightest joke Stephen Malkmus hasContinue reading “Of cigar stands and incandescent guillotines”

The Evolution of Ciara

The chart success of blank R&B songstresses like Rihanna and the newly Timbalanded Nelly Furtado makes me appreciate Ciara’s achievements all the more. If their producers hired them as one more sound in a package that’s increasingly rococo, then at worst they can just stand there and wail. Ciara has the rare talent, last seenContinue reading “The Evolution of Ciara”

The screwball of our discontent, Pt. II

James Wolcott’s noticed the sheer looniness of that David Denby jeremiad published in last week’s New Yorker on the condition of modern romantic comedy. Denby writes: Romantic comedy is entertainment in the service of the biological imperative. The world must be peopled. Even if the lovers are past child-rearing age or, as in recent years,Continue reading “The screwball of our discontent, Pt. II”

Temptation in Technicolor

Having survived second-album-syndrome, Dizzee Rascal delivers his most confident release to date. It’s almost silly to write excitedly about Maths + English now that whatever NPR-created aura of exoticism has dissipated, but the indifference with which this has been greeted offends me a bit. We do things a bit differently in America, unlike the BritishContinue reading “Temptation in Technicolor”