I finally made it out to see Leatherheads, and I'd say the mediocre reaction the film has been receiving has been fair. George Clooney's third directorial effort is perfectly okay, but only just that. It aspires to be His Girl Friday, but Clooney has missed the key Howard Hawks ingredient: speed. Take the same cast, same script, and certainly the same director, because Clooney has the potential to be one of our greats, but turn everything up a notch, cut the pauses and maybe add a little more physical comedy (thus making the sleeves catching on fire and the goofy disguises seem less incongruous), and Leatherheads would be a very funny film. As it is, the performers are charming enough to make it a pleasant afternoon diversion.
Amusingly, all of the people in the theatre with me looked like they could have been alive in 1925 when the movie took place. I swear to God, I saw two different male senior citizens get lost between the door and their seats, one on his way in before the movie and the other on the way out. The first was rescued by his wife, the second was just kind of wandering in circles when I passed him in the hall. He dropped in step behind me and followed me out. I was half tempted to turn into a wall and keep bumping into it like a toy robot with no ability to change direction.
But then I remembered karma and the fact that I was really only looking a year or two into my own future, and I let the impulse to be mean die.
Speaking of hearkening back to older times, I think the album I am currently most anticipating is the debut from Last Shadow Puppets, a new pop outfit featuring Alex Turner from Arctic Monkeys and Miles Kane from the Rascals. I just got my hands on their first single and its excellent B-sides, including a cover of an early Bowie track, "In the Heat of the Morning."
From a production standpoint, the single, "The Age of the Understatement," is everything I like. I have an image of Bernard Butler playing that boxing video game "Punch Out," but he's unlocked a secret code so that the battling pugilists are Phil Spector and Ennio Morricone.
I even like the visual imagery of the video--Russian choruses, clean-cut boys with Beatles hairdos in long coats, lonely stage performances. I checked out some of the Rascals singles, not having heard of them before, and their tunes are very much in an Arctic Monkeys vein, though without Turner's personality or lyrical dexterity. (Kane was formerly in the Little Flames, whose "Put Your Dukes Up John" was covered by the Monkeys.)
The album is out May 6 in the U.S. Click through and check out the well-tailored cover art.
While you're waiting, out this week at least in the UK, is American Demo by the Indelicates. I've had a chance to sample it and its fantastic. Many of their singles have been re-recorded for it, so even if you think you've heard it, you haven't. The new versions fit more cohesively with the new songs than I think the originals would have.
The band is hard to describe. It's like Luke Haines had a secret pop terrorism camp where he trained kids to form rock bands that performed classic pop with the most acerbic of lyrics.
I wish there were a more clear video of "We Hate the Kids," but this live version will have to do. I wish this song were around when I was a teenager. I would have bought a 78 rpm record of it.
Also check out their song "If Jeff Buckley Had Lived," which quite accurately and irreverently predicts what would have likely happened to the overrated singer's sterling image had he not met a young demise. I know the guy had a pretty voice, but his music seems flat, overcalculated, and underfelt to me. I'm sure Leonard Cohen appreciates the royalties, nevertheless.
Current Soundtrack: Lightspeed Champion covering Amy Winehouse; Last Shadow Puppets; the Indelicates; the Little Flames
Current Mood: nostalgic