A personal diary keeping people abreast of what I am working on writing-wise.

Monday, August 28, 2006


All sorts of new reviews by yours truly are now up at DVDTalk, including a handful of newly reissued DVDs for some of my favorite old films.

Theatrical Reviews:
* Idlewild, the Outkast movie

DVD Reviews:
* The Castle of Cagliostro, the first movie direced by Hayao Miyazaki, with everyone's favorite thief, Lupin III
* Laurence Olivier Presents, a DVD set of plays Olivier filmed for British television in the 1970s
* Playtime, the new 2-disc edition of Jacques Tati's stunning satire of modern living
* Pretty in Pink: Everything's Duckie Edition and Some Kind of Wonderful: Special Collector's Edition, two of John Hughes' goopiest teenage romances
* Wednesday, Justin D. Hilliard's debut directorial effort, a multi-layered rumination on loss released independently

It's been interesting, as a lot of those films are ones that people have a real connection to, and so I woke up this morning to e-mails and discussion threads being stated on the DVDTalk forum. Pretty in Pink is already in the Top 10 most-read reviews, and I have a feeling Playtime will be in there, too. (The only other time I hit the top 10 was for A Canterbury Tale. The Criterion reviews get lots of activity.) So far, the feedback has been generally positive, though some have questioned my eyes and one reader pointed out a glaring change I had missed in The Castle of Cagliostro. It's kind of wild seeing people react so quickly. I've almost done 50 reviews for the site, and this is the first time.

I had a blast revisiting the John Hughes movies. It's been since the last DVDs came out four years ago that I've watched them, and this time I realized more than ever how much I had been influenced by the man. Anyone see any of Jack from Cut My Hair in Duncan from Some Kind of Wonderful? Notice Duckie hanging around talking to a bouncer in Pretty in Pink? In talking with Chynna about the movies, I even dug out an aborted screenplay from when I was 19 or 20, called Until I Die. It was like every moment had been lifted from a Hughes movie.

Elsewhere in the world of Entertainment, Justin Timberlake's new CD, FutureSex/LoveSound, is mind blowing. 10 of the 13 tracks were done in collaboration with Timbaland, and they've made come up with something incredible. As sort of goofy as the title of the record sounds, it actually is an accurate description of the music. These are futuristic, sexy love songs. "SexyBack" is really only the beginning of where this music goes. There are also heartbreak ballads like "What Comes Around..." and even a socially conscious track about drug abuse, "Losing My Way," that includes a full choir even as the instrumentation is a sparse beat done with bells and Timbaland performing a scat melody.

One thing I really dig about the disc is that it's constructed to be an album experience. While it's full of great pop songs, J.T. and Timbaland have chosen to interlace them with extended interludes that act as connectors between each tune. The front half of the disc in particular, before the trio of songs by other producers breaks things up, is like one long tapestry, all the songs flowing together. It's an ambitious move for a pop album, and I think it pays off.

I think we can see clearly now that of the great pop influx of the late 1990s, Justin Timberlake and Christina Aguilera are firmly entrenched, proving to be the real deal. They've both made smart choics, and their alliance for the Justified & Stripped Tour several years ago was a prophetic showing of who would be sticking around. Neither of them seem to be in service of the machine, but instead come off as doing what they want, following what inspires them. Hopefully they'll hang on to those golden instincts and keep listening to what they say, because I haven't had enough yet.

Current Soundtrack: Justin Timberlake, FutureSex/LoveSound

Current Mood: curious

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[to leave comments, click on the time-stamp below, then scroll down on the new page] – All text (c) 2006 Jamie S. Rich

1 comment:

Reel Fanatic said...

I thought I had seen all the Miyazaki movies (Porco Rosso and Kiki are my faves), but I had never heard of that one .. thanks for the good word!