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Cee-Lo Green recommended Dummy by Portishead in Music (curated)

 
Dummy by Portishead
Dummy by Portishead
1994 | Rock
9.3 (6 Ratings)
Album Favorite

"It's everything that I love about music. It's hip hop, trip hop, acid jazz, alternative... I don’t want to call it R n B, but there's some soul in there. Very dark and tortured sounding soul, but soul nonetheless. It's fusion, is what it is. What I liked most about rock music, besides the music I make, is when I don't understand what they're talking about. Geoff Barrow... See, I've never seen Geoff Barrow. I don't know how he looks, although he probably doesn't look like he's supposed to be making this kind of music. I heard stories about it, how they’d record certain stuff to wax and then sample it. Just going through a lot of shit to make the record. It's just so grand, and you think of the artist - who gave them the blank cheque to go to that extreme!? Someone could have easily rapped on all of that stuff. It sounds almost like Wu Tang production, something RZA did. I can hear rhyming over it, but Beth Gibbons has this pixie-kind of vocal, with that ethereal and enchanted kind of thing. It's awesome."

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Nobody (2021)
Nobody (2021)
2021 | Action, Comedy, Crime
8
7.9 (19 Ratings)
Movie Rating
Bob Odenkirk (1 more)
A fun, adrenaline-fuelled script
What Kevin McAllister did once all grown up
The "Nobody" in question is Hutch Mansell (Bob Odenkirk) who lives a humdrum suburban life: a 9-to-5 managerial job at his in-laws manufacturing plant; distant wife (Connie Nielsen); two kids, Blake (Gage Munroe) and Abby (Paisley Cadorath); an elderly father (Christopher Lloyd) in a local care home. Basically, the Mansell's are all living the American dream, but all subject to the monotonous grind of that daily life for week after week. That all changes in the middle of the night after Hutch confronts two bungling burglars and - in the full gaze of his son - 'wimps out' on taking action. All the silent rage and embarrassment has to go somewhere, and it does - on a late night bus ride; an event that sets off a sequence of increasingly bloody encounters!

Positives:
- Bob Odenkirk is charismatically dull! His character could be compared with that of Christian Wolff in 2016's "The Accountant". But in that movie, Ben Affleck was just dull dull! Here Odenkirk brings his character to life in a truly wonderful and sparkly way.

- The movie is a hyper-violent but adrenaline-fuelled joy ride. There's a slight lull after the initial burglary, but then it's a downhill bobsleigh ride with no brakes from there to the end. It comes as no surprise that the writer, Derek Kolstad, is the guy behind the John Wick franchise. The script has moments of black comedy that made me laugh out loud a good few times.

- The editing here (by Evan Schiff and William Yeh) is very slick indeed, most noticeably so in the many fight scenes. The one on the bus could be pulled apart as a template for a film school lesson.


Negatives:
- I've very little to add here. Yes, it's a rather shallow story, but I found it a hugely entertaining rush of a movie. However the intensity of the violence will not be for everyone. The lady a few seats along from me had her hands over her eyes for at least 75% of the movie I reckon.

- I wasn't clear where the character played by RZA fitted into the mix. Having (post film) seen the cast list, I'm even more confused!

Additional notes:
- There is a post credit scene in this one, shortly into the end credits, so don't dive for the doors too quickly if you want to see it. That being said, it doesn't really make much sense (why are they doing this?) and it isn't particularly funny either. So if you did miss it, then don't sweat about it!

- This is a movie that I knew virtually nothing about on going into it. Which is the best way to see it. As such, it's worth NOT watching the trailer, and going in on that basis if you can.


Summary Thoughts on "Nobody": It's a pretty shallow plot.... but it's also bloody good fun! I expected this to follow the well worn road of classic "revenge" movies - like "Death Wish" or "Taken" - but was pleasantly surprised that it didn't. A better comparison might be Michael Douglas's "Falling Down", but with the central character having more heart.

There are lots of nods to sequences from other movies in here: "Home Alone" (for obvious reasons!); "Patriot Games" and "The Equalizer" came to my mind. And the finale reminded me strongly of the anarchic chaos of 2016's "Free Fire".

Intellectual it ain't. But provided you can stomach the Tom and Jerry style violence, and suspend your belief at the punishment Hutch can take without hospital treatment, then "Nobody" ticks all the boxes for a fun night out at the flicks.

(For the full graphical review, please check out the One Mann's Movies review here - https://bob-the-movie-man.com/2021/06/09/nobody-what-kevin-mcallister-did-once-all-grown-up/. There's also a new Tiktok channel at onemannsmovies. Thanks).
  
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Caribou recommended Madvillainy by Madvillain in Music (curated)

 
Madvillainy by Madvillain
Madvillainy by Madvillain
2004 | Hip-hop
9.5 (2 Ratings)
Album Favorite

"Hip-hop has always been such a big thing for me, particularly hip-hop production. So many of my favourite producers growing up, and the reason why I wanted to make produced music, came from people like RZA, Premier, Pete Rock, Q-Tip, Timbaland and early Neptunes, early Kanye even - and Madlib and J Dilla are both right up there. I picked these two albums [J Dilla's Donuts is also on the list] that came out on the same label and from the same scene rather than say, Illmatic, because at that point in my life there was a sense of like, no matter how much I liked Public Enemy or A Tribe Called Quest records, I was coming to them late. But I can remember Madvillainy leaking way in advance and thinking it was so exciting being there for it happening. I think it will be remembered as a classic record. I've got to know Madlib since then, which is amazing because he's an absolute hero. I'm coming to hip-hop more from a production point of view rather than listening to the MCing or the lyrics - that's because I produce music. But this is a record where the Doom part and the Madlib are so perfectly matched. It's like the greatest hits of beat producing - every track is completely insane. The way he cuts up the samples is so, so heavy! I think it's pretty much perfect. It's so eccentric. There aren't that many genres of music where eccentricity is embraced in the same way. This is a really, really weird record, but it's totally canonised as being a classic record. That's wonderful. Maybe in the same way Theo Parrish's music is - people embrace that weirdness, but there are other genres of music where they don't. The feeling I got when I made Swim - and it was a little revelation - was that if you asked your general public person about dance music they'd say it's all the same and formulaic, there's got to be a repetitive beat and blah blah blah. But the fact that there is a kind of repetitive rhythmic element is actually quite liberating - so long as it's got that framework you can do anything else on top of it. You don't necessarily have to have something that functions as a song. And hip-hop's the same thing - so long as there's a beat that moves you, the other things around it don't really matter, you can do what you like. You can have a sample of a Pakistani singer over the top or an old soul record or even just random drum machine hits firing off all over the place - there's a crazy variety of things Madlib does when he's producing. But because it still makes your head nod, you can leave that area and be more free."

Source
  
Brick Mansions (2014)
Brick Mansions (2014)
2014 | Action, Drama
7
6.0 (4 Ratings)
Movie Rating
3 weeks ago, I had never heard of this movie. I happened upon the commercial as I was watching TV

one day, and I was intrigued. Brick Mansions is touted as Paul Walker’s last complete movie, may he

rest his in peace. But I am really hoping that it’s not true. Because if it is, I really have to question some

of the filmmakers’ decisions.

 

Brick Mansions comes from the creative mind of Luc Besson, who happened to also write District B13

which this movie is a remake of. In fact, David Belle, who plays Leno in the movie, played the same role

in District B13. Leno is a man who lives in Brick Mansions, a highly-dilapidated area of Detroit in 2018,

who is trying to thwart the big boss in Brick Mansions, Tremaine (RZA), and keep drugs off the streets.

When Leno steals 20 Kilos of cocaine and destroys it, Tremaine kidnaps his ex-girlfriend to lure him in

and ultimately land him in jail. Damien (Paul Walker) is an undercover cop looking to take down the

organization that killed his father, who was also a cop. He traces it back to Tremaine, and desperately

wants to take him down. When a threat of a bomb going off that could obliterate Brick Mansions,

Damien is asked to infiltrate the city, and he must enlist the help of Leno to pull it off. As Damien and

Leno race against time to disarm the bomb, they realize that they may have misjudged each other, and

the threat at hand.

 

IMDB credits Belle as the founder of Parkour. I do not know if it is true or not, but the man definitely

makes it seems like it. The fight scenes were excellently choreographed, if not a bit cheesy at times

(Walker and Belle doing mirror image Parkour in perfect unison). It was nice to see the parity between

Damien’s style of getting things done Leno’s style, and the film was definitely not afraid to focus on

strengths. And it wouldn’t be a Paul Walker movie these days if the man didn’t have a driving/chase

scene. It was not focus-stealing or over the top, in fact there was just enough of an emphasis to show

that it was a respectful nod to what made Walker so famous.

 

I had two major issues with the movie, though. The first being the overuse of slow motion in the fight

scenes. Especially the one between Tremaine’s right-hand woman Rayza (Ayisha Issa) and Leno’s ex-
girlfriend, Lola (Catalina Denis). It seemed that every 10-15 seconds they would slow time to focus

on the most asinine thing in the shot, but only for 1-2 seconds and then speed the scene back up. It

seemed like a real quick and easy way to extend the scene and pad the length of the movie.

My other gripe had to do with how quickly the conflicts resolved themselves in the film. First, spoiler

alert. If you do not want to know the resolution of the one of the major plot-points, please skip this

paragraph. All the way up until mere moments before Damien and Leno get access to the bomb to

defuse it, everyone is certain that Tremaine is bad guy, and rightfully so. He is an ex-military, now drug-
lord that essentially monopolized the crime in Brick Mansions. But when he shows one out-of-character

moment of compassion, Lola defends his actions which leads to a quick turnaround of “now we can trust

this guy” among the main characters. It just didn’t make sense in the scheme of things. And that’s just

the tip of the iceberg on this point. But I will leave the rest for the movie.

 

All-in-all, I liked this movie. It had a feel like a Jet Li movie when he was first trying to break into

American Cinema (a la Romeo Must Die and Cradle 2 Grave). And it might just be the same for David

Belle, who already has a slew of stunt work under his belt. It would be nice to see him get some more

starring things. Would I have paid to watch it in theater? Probably, as I wouldn’t know exactly what

I was in store for. Will I go back and do it now, no. But I can say I will end up picking it up on Blu-ray

when it is released.
  
Enter the Wu-Tang (36 Chambers) by Wu-Tang Clan
Enter the Wu-Tang (36 Chambers) by Wu-Tang Clan
1993 | Rock
7.0 (3 Ratings)
Album Favorite

"A friend of mine played me the Wu Tang album way before it came out. I was so entrenched and deep into this music shit by then that a lot of music was shared through people I knew and I would subsequently hear a lot of projects in their demo phase. I also got a lot of stuff from attending the underground mix shows: this was one such record. The Friday night mix shows were so special back in the day, especially in breaking new music – and what a record this was to break. It took me multiple listens to realise this was so radically different from anything I'd ever heard previously. Soon enough, I was like 'Yo, this shit is amazing.' Hearing nine different MCs with totally different styles meant that it took a little time for the Wu Tang to settle in: I admit I didn't get it the first time I heard it, but once the record came out and I started hearing it more and more, I knew this was something very special indeed. I had my favourite MCs in the group like everyone did, but as I started to get to know them more and more, I realised this was a group where at least six or seven of the nine MCs could just go off and be platinum selling artists in their own right. How many groups or collectives can you say that of? It wasn't even like a supergroup or something put together specially – these guys just came from the same sort of space as us and they were doing this incredible shit. RZA's production was phenomenal and I admired it so much, especially the concept of the slang, the Kung Fu…it was ridiculous. All the other philosophies behind it too were so special. For me, there was always something for everybody in that band because you have nine entirely different personalities in there and you're going to find something to like out of those nine motherfuckers [laughs]. Everybody had their favourites, me included. The first time I heard it, RZA and GZA were my favourites then as time went on, I liked Raekwon and Ghostface Killah. I saw them a couple of times live, like very early on before they really blew. Their gigs were just pure raw energy and the stage was chaotic and hectic because there's nine people on there with mics doing their own thing. They didn't have the most organised shows but there was this energy that they brought – this wild, fucking crazy ball of energy that they always delivered on the stage. You never really did know what was going to happen next and that was always exciting Ol Dirty Bastard was also one of the most unique characters ever in music. I always look for uniqueness and authenticity in an artist and he just had it in abundance for me. I heard him and thought, 'He's one of a one'. His music had a message of like, 'don't get stuck, free yourself'. It was a powerful message. I don't know if they can ever do something like this again or if something this special will ever exist once more: they had so much powerful energy. It's something very hard to hold together when everyone is going in a bunch of different directions, continually shifting. Yet they did it in that space and in that time: I doubt you can repeat that."

Source
  
G.I. Joe: Retaliation (2013)
G.I. Joe: Retaliation (2013)
2013 | Action, Sci-Fi
Who didn’t grow up as a child of the eighties and nineties and not play with G.I. Joes? And of those, who can honestly say they were not thoroughly disappointed in G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra? Surprisingly, I can say that I wasn’t thoroughly disappointed, but I know the movie could have been so much more than it was. Could it have done without the surreal technology, the sappy love story and the unrealistic action scenes in the movie? Yes. Many fans cried out about this. G.I. Joe: Retaliation set out to respond.

Did they succeed? That’s debatable, but they did a lot of things right in the go-around. Don’t get me wrong, it’s not award winning or anything, and you should never expect a movie like this to be that. But let’s run through a check list. Sappy out of place love-story: gone. Surreal technology: less. Let’s face it, despite what some people felt about the first movie, it did kind of set that precedent. Retaliation is considered a true follow up to The Rise of Cobra. So would it honestly make any sense to go from one extreme of nearly impossible gadgets to none at all? Absolutely not. Besides, the cartoon series also had technology in it. I am not trying to defend the use of it, and there were some pretty crazy gadgets going on in this movie, but it seemed to jive better with what I remember of it as a kid. And they found a really unique way to tone it down without it not seeming right. Unfortunately, there is still a fair amount of unrealistic action in this movie, but that’s kind of become the norm for most action movies these days.

We pick up fairly close to where we left off in The Rise of Cobra. Duke (Channing Tatum) is now commanding a unit of the Joes with Roadblock, Lady Jaye, Flint and Snake Eyes (Dwayne Johnson, Adrianne Palicki, D.J. Cotrona and Ray Park respectively) under his command. The Joes are sent out on a mission, a good rapport is built between Duke and Roadblock, but then they go and destroy that when their convoy gets attacked by Cobra eliminating Duke from the rest of the film. Go cry spoiler somewhere else, this happens in the beginning of the movie, and it’s been everywhere since the delay of the movie from last year. I was hoping they would somehow managed to keep him in the movie, especially after seeing the chemistry between Tatum and Johnson, but alas…

So the convoy attacked, and all the Joes presumed dead. Only Roadblock, Jaye and Flint actually survive and try to get to the bottom of everything. Meanwhile President Zartan (remember how the last movie ended) is up to his own nefarious plans in breaking out Cobra Commander with the aide of Storm Shadow. The Joes work their magic, still have access to some technology (though not over the top like The Rise of Cobra), and recruit people to help them along the way, including the man who is the reason the Joes were started: General Joe Coulton (played epic-ly by Bruce Willis).

The movie was entertaining, had a lot of great and clever humor that wasn’t thrown in your face, and had some great action scenes (if you can get past the fact that in one scene they are fighting Cirque Du Soleil style on the side of a cliff). But it’s some of the little things in this movie that prevent it from redeeming the franchise after the first iteration, including the casting of RZA in a part that looks like it is meant to be serious, but his horrible acting make you really wonder if it was supposed to be a serious role or not. The other gripe I had with the movie was the unlikely resolution of the main conflict. With the Cobra Commander so confident in his plan, why would he, or any self-respecting super villain, deliver a way to foil the evil plan with literally half a second left on a silver platter. The last issue I had with the movie was Storm Shadow. I really liked the conflict between him and Snake Eyes in The Rise of Cobra, but they seemed to discredit his character a lot in this movie. Ultimately they changed the nature of Storm Shadow to make it seem as if he might switch sides in any future installments of the franchise, and that’s just not cool. The character was awesome the way he was.

As for the 3D aspect, it’s said this was the reason that the studio delayed the movie for a year. They wanted to add more effects to it. This tells me two things: the movie was shot in 2D and they had little faith in it. Honestly, I think we all know they tried to add more Duke to the movie in this time (which it’s really hard to tell if they did), but you can tell there was work done with 3D aspect. Too much. It was very distracting at points, and it seemed liked they added elements to scenes just to have 3D. For instance there was a scene where you were in a situation room viewing information on a monitor. It literally looked like they just super imposed a shoulder into the lower right of the screen so they could have in 3D as if you were looking over someone’s shoulder. That’s just silly.

All that being said. I had fun watching the movie. Dwayne Johnson is becoming a powerhouse that everyone was expecting him to years ago. I hope that he can continue this streak with some good movies (he’s got two more within the next month alone). I own the first one on Blu Ray, and I will probably buy this one when comes out as well. I would watch it in theater just for the enormity of the action on the big screen, but skip the 3D.