Frank Kogan posted a blistering response to Ann Powers’ weekend Beatles feature, to which I say, A-fucking-men. His title says it all. What the hell does “poptimism” mean in 2009 – that Pitchfork can review The-Dream without worrying about robbing Iron & Wine of space?


This week: Bloc Party goes house, Taio Cruz discovers Auto-Tune, Pitbull and his female companion discover Expose, Chris Brown discovers his no-surprise douchebaggery, Mark Ronson discovers a protege, DJ Quik and Kurupt keep making fresh discoveries,  The Pastels and Tenniscoats discover late eighties dream-pop, Wilco discover George Harrison, and Madonna discovers how often she canContinue reading “Singles!”

About “District 9….”

Fun for thirty minutes, until director Neill Blomkamp loses interest in his own faux documentary style and refuses to sort through his incendiary concepts. The hero’s Cheney-esque father-in-law, the Nigerian gang dealing in cybernetic weaponry, and the Soweto-style township in which the aliens live demand more than Blomkamp’s affectlessness. Also: Sharlto Copley’s a shrill, one-dimensionalContinue reading “About “District 9….””

The lion of Camelot, the dean of Chappaquiddick

The announcement of his death hadn’t yet been linked on a million Facebook pages when Our Corporate Masters decreed that all references to the late Edward Kennedy would confine themselves to the tags “Camelot,” “Lion of the Senate,” and “Chappaquiddick.” No mention more than a minute long of his legislative accomplishments, of which I wasContinue reading “The lion of Camelot, the dean of Chappaquiddick”

Lost in music

The Last Days of Disco disappointed me in 1998. Writer-director Whit Stillman’s Metropolitan formula of putting hyperaware preps in the same room for just under two hours had worn thin; his low budget crimped the production values; and scene to scene the movie didn’t cohere. Sadly, these things remain true. Criterion’s sparkling DVD transfer (theContinue reading “Lost in music”

Using her female attraction

One of Tina Turner’s biggest hits (three weeks at #2 in the fall of ’86) is nevertheless one of her least remarked on. Written by Terry Britten, coauthor of  “What’s Love Got To Do With It,” with drums by Phil Collins, this rather frantic piece of aural machinery deepens the character that Turner inhabited onContinue reading “Using her female attraction”

The banality of banality

Too many reviews have concentrated on the utter banality of the Amy Adams section of Julie and Julia, and while they’re right they also overlook one point: the utter banality of Ephron’s conception of “self-fulfillment.” Where it not for the pure charm of Meryl Streep’s impersonation of Julia Childs (the audience was mooing to itselfContinue reading “The banality of banality”

The politics of cowardice

It bears repeating: we have not elected a liberal US president since Lyndon Johnson; and Johnson, we should remember, had nothing but contempt for liberals. Eric Alterman correctly notes that the foreign policy elite and conservative ideologues (albeit quietly) thought Bill Clinton would make a more hawkish president than the hapless George Herbert Walker Bush.Continue reading “The politics of cowardice”