7 items from 2014
Is what U2 did really so awful? Ever since the band showed up at Apple’s iPhone 6 launch on Tuesday and gave away its new album, “Songs of Innocence,” to 500 million iTunes users, I’ve read commentary after commentary about how horrible they are. My Facebook page has been deluged with discussions about the new album and my friends can’t seem to decide what they’re maddest about but it seems to be down to these five things: *U2 gave its new album away by inserting itself into people’s iTunes library *Bono is a blowhard *They hate U2 and see this as the latest craven move from a band that cares more about getting attention then making good music *They think the new album is horrible (read my review here) *They really can’t stand that Bono invokes both Joey Ramone’s and Joe Strummer’s names in »
- Melinda Newman
Taking a trick from Beyonce’s playbook, U2 dropped its 13th studio album, “Songs of Innocence,” today without warning. The Irish band made the announcement at Apple’s event in Cupertino, Calif. The aptly named “Songs of Innocence,” produced by Danger Mouse, with additional production by Ryan Tedder, Paul Epworth, Flood, and Declan Gaffney, is a song cycle that draws on the band members’ past— a time when they first met and everything was possible. It pays tribute to their influences (The Ramones, The Clash, The Beach Boys), first loves, growing up in the shadow of Ira violence, and the fallout of tough economic times. Bono’s vocals sound fresh and invigorated and the production sparkles. It’s a lovely album that is sentimental without ever losing its edge. Below is a first-listen review: my take on each song by only listening to it once as I play the album straight through. »
- Melinda Newman
For Toronto moviegoers currently suffering from summer blockbuster fatigue, the Tiff Bell Lightbox is offering just the solution with "Strange Paradise: The Cinema of Jim Jarmusch," the first comprehensive retrospective of the cult director's films in Canada.
Presented by Tiff Cinematheque and programmed by Brad Deane, the series runs from July 24 to August 16, covering the indie icon's entire career. All 12 of Jarmusch's films are being brought back to the big screen, from his Nyu film studies Master's thesis "Permanent Vacation" and breakout Cannes Film Festival darling "Stranger Than Paradise" to his most recent offering "Only Lovers Left Alive," for anyone who missed the quirky vampire love story during last year's Toronto International Film Festival.
An acclaimed art house auteur minus any of the off-putting pretension -- case in point: just watch the near-prison riot started by Roberto Benigni chanting "We all scream for ice cream" in "Down By Law" -- »
- Rick Mele
Record Store Day 2014 is here (April 19) and this year loads of new releases specifically crafted for the day. This seventh annual event marks when independent and specialty music stores open their doors and drop these limited, rare and inspired releases, on vinyl, CD and a bevy of other formats. It helps bolster sales for these smaller shops, as well as raise awareness of new and lasting artists. Below, HitFix editors pondered the question, "If you had $50 just to spend on 2014 Record Store Day purchases, what would you pick up?" Granted, some sets would be more than $50, some are hard to find... just as some are worth searching for and paying top dollar for, to collectors. So just play along. Read more about Rsd here. HitFix's Melinda Newman The Pogues, “Live with Joe Strummer,” 12" Yep, you read that right. In 1991, troubled Pogues leader Shane MacGowan took a hiatus and The Clash »
- Katie Hasty, Dave Lewis, Melinda Newman and Whitney Phaneuf
Loners and outcasts have no greater cinematic patron saint than Jim Jarmusch, the fiercely independent writer-director who's spent over three decades chronicling urban fringe-dwellers, road trippers, rockabilly tourists, Zen hitmen and, now, vampires. The 60-year-old filmmaker's latest, Only Lovers Left Alive, centers on a centuries-old couple (played by Tilda Swinton and Tom Hiddleston) who like their Type O served neat, though its a far cry from the recent wave of vampire chic; it's really a languorous romance in which two lovers struggle with immortality-engendered ennui. It may be Jarmusch's first foray into horror films, »
While the rest of his cohort have fallen by the wayside or been absorbed into the Hollywood system, the film-maker has stayed weird, as his new movie of erudite vampire love reveals
The word "hipster" invariably crops up in discussions about American film-maker Jim Jarmusch, not least because he looks the part. He is tall, lean, often wears shades and has a famous shock of hair that started turning silvery grey in his teens; his basso drawl completes the uncanny resemblance to a certain Hollywood great, which inspired Jarmusch to found a jokey secret society, The Sons of Lee Marvin.
Jarmusch is without a doubt the most rock'n'roll of film-makers – although he obliges you to define the term. He has worked with a lot of musicians, either as composers or as actors – Neil Young, Tom Waits, Screamin' Jay Hawkins, hip-hop producer RZA. But if you look at the breadth of Jarmusch's references, »
- Jonathan Romney
How do you make, then keep, a friend?
For Mike (Fox), the process is fairly easy, at least initially -- to Annie's (Betsy Brandt) relief, since she feels he needs a new pal -- in "Couples," Thursday's (Jan. 16) episode of NBC's "The Michael J. Fox Show."
While getting their mail, they encounter a neighbor named Will (guest star Frederick Weller), whose Wi-fi name Annie recognizes. Overhearing them discussing him, he asks Mike, "Wait ... you're not 'Bobby Hull & Oates,' are you?" A pleased Mike replies, "He shoots, he scores!"
After they start to go their separate ways, Annie urges her husband to continue the conversation: "You close that. Come on, I'm right behind you." Annie conspicuously vanishes, though, as they resume their chat.
Returning from a hockey game later with Will, Mike enthuses he's having "probably the best day of my life" next to the births of his children. »
7 items from 2014
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