3 items from 2012
December is a month that increasingly sees few releases of new albums, so the closer this list gets to the present day, the fewer albums of importance there are to discuss, and most of those are hip-hop albums.
Traffic: Mr. Fantasy Aka Heaven Is in Your Mind (Island)
Shortly after Steve Winwood quit the Spencer Davis Group (of which he was the lead singer and organist), he formed Traffic with some guys he'd jammed with at a club in Birmingham: guitarist/vocalist Dave Mason, saxophonist/flutist Chris Wood, and drummer/lyricist Jim Capaldi. After a couple of hit singles, they convened at a country cottage and put together the debut album by Traffic, titled Mr. Fantasy in their native country. By the time it was released, Mason had already quit.
The English and American editions were rather different. Not only did the U.S. LP (on United Artists) have »
Michael Lee Nirenberg is an artist and filmmaker living in New York. His current documentary is Back Issues: The Hustler Magazine Story.
Bradley Rubenstein: Your most recent action, Redacted, involves overpainting your past works black, repeating this performance from canvas to canvas. Has the result of this performance series turned it into something like a trademark, a signature style based in old Suprematist methodology, a non-dialectical negation that might once have been witty but ultimately only guarantees its own recognition? A gimmick? Has it replaced your work as a filmmaker and documentarian?
Michael Lee Nirenberg: Originally the project began with the immodestly modest premise that, while my earlier paintings might not be worth preserving, the idea of my past history as an artist was. Therefore, by removing the imagery, as such, from the work, I was maintaining its conceptual integrity. In many ways I believe that this conceptual »
Cementing his reputation as Hollywood's best-loved wounded bear, the gruff Nick Nolte recently picked up his third Oscar nomination essaying yet another broken-down has-been in the mixed martial arts punch-up pic Warrior (2011, Lionsgate, 15). He plays Paddy Conlon, a recovering alcoholic and troubled father whose fractious relationship with his fighting Irish sons provides the dramatic backbone for this pumped-up, pugilist spectacle.
A quasi-mythical tale of two estranged brothers, one a renegade war veteran, the other a bruised teacher, destined inevitably to sort out their differences in the arena, Gavin O'Connor's punchy upmarket exploiter has been widely compared with Rocky but actually owes a far greater debt to Gladiator – not Ridley Scott's lavish, award-winning sword-and-sandals epic, but Rowdy Herrington's altogether cheaper and more cheerful 90s boxing romp. Like Herrington, O'Connor understands the visceral pleasure of watching two muscular »
- Mark Kermode
3 items from 2012
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