Over-plotted ‘Louder Than Bombs’ fritters away its tension

The last time I saw a creepier image than Jesse Eisenberg holding a newborn was Ted Cruz smiling at a podium. A brief scene, sure, and Louder Than Bombs offers others just as grisly. This Norwegian-French production shows how an American family deals with the aftershocks of their mother’s death. Eschewing chronological narrative storytelling, Louder… More Over-plotted ‘Louder Than Bombs’ fritters away its tension

‘I catch a body at a party, sort of herbal with the verbal’ — more favorite things

k d lang – All You Can Eat (1995) Three years after her pop breakthrough Ingenue, k d lang and collaborator Ben Mink went the other way: space. With a basic drum pattern and the simplest of guitar parts (when a harp appears it’s like a shot of bourbon) lang drops the twang and goes… More ‘I catch a body at a party, sort of herbal with the verbal’ — more favorite things

Dennis Hastert’s ‘inability to abide by the law’

Well into 1998, Newton Leroy Gingrich expected Americans to ratify his vision of himself as the United States’ prime minister, the head of an opposition government ready to clear the legislature of the Roundheads who accepted William Jefferson Clinton’s legitimacy as president. Then the midterm elections delivered the most stunning rebuke to a majority party… More Dennis Hastert’s ‘inability to abide by the law’

‘It is a child that sings itself to sleep, / The mind’

Readers know my penchant for Wallace Stevens, my favorite twentieth century American poet. Paul Mariani wrote a biography, the first since the mid 1980s. From Peter Schjeldahl’s lovely review: Something like a flame comes off the page (page 71, to be exact) of “The Whole Harmonium” when Mariani quotes lines from Stevens’s first published mature… More ‘It is a child that sings itself to sleep, / The mind’

‘Like the lion of Judah, I’ll strike my enemies down’

I was supposed to review Art Official Age for a publication but the request got pulled; it would’ve been the first new Prince album in whose honor I wrote a few hundred words since Planet Earth in 2007 (I still don’t mind “Breakfast Can Wait.” Oh well). Below is that review, published in Stylus and… More ‘Like the lion of Judah, I’ll strike my enemies down’

‘Once we’re through we’ll stop Donald Trump!’

Three dark-haired men, two with facial hair, sprint for a fence. “Once we’re through we’ll stop Donald Trump!” the one sporting wire cutters says. “Si, And Ted Cruz too!” the second chirps. Two of the men wear “Stop Donald Trump” t-shirts, colored red, white, and blue but thanks to the lighting and the non-acting recontextualized… More ‘Once we’re through we’ll stop Donald Trump!’

Singles 4/22

What a state of affairs when Derulowave submerges Tegan and Sara, and Derulo has had trouble following up last year’s top five “Want You To Want Me.” If Rostam’s delicate “Gravity Don’t Pull Me” is any indication the former Vampire Weekend utility man best stick to producing. Nick Jonas has had trouble too following up… More Singles 4/22

Pay no attention to the Kochs

Reading about the patience with which billionaire industrialists Charles and David Koch endured Democratic Congresses and presidents so long as they could fund state legislators and think tanks to promulgate their ideas about eliminating the federal government, I think David Atkins’ analysis of Charles Koch’s complimentary noises about Hillary makes sense: The great advantage the… More Pay no attention to the Kochs