Category Archives: reviews

Get On Your Boots

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I expect a lot from U2. They’ve always set the bar pretty high for themselves. You won’t find a bigger fan of the band than me. I, like many U2 fans count down the days until a new album. I purchased their new single today off of itunes.

Another great song, a great single. The Foo Fighters wish they could release a single this good. And listen to it closely because I’m sure that this is exactly what Coldplay will sound like in two years. Things just always seem to work out that way.

The only disappointing thing about the song is that it’s a little bit predictable. This band is starting to become very, very predictable. They’re a corporation, I get it. It’s a business, I understand. But for the last few albums, I guess going back to Achtung Baby, they have a formula that they follow and you can see what’s coming.

They’re telegraphing their punches.

First comes the fast-paced single with relatively meaningless lyrics that is hip enough to grab some younger fans but also familiar enough not to disappoint the faithful. The Fly, Discotheque,  Beautiful Day, Vertigo and now Get On Your Boots.

Next will come the preliminary press where Bono says that this is the album that U2 has always wanted to make. But he’ll also explain that there were many battles fought over this one and that Larry was often pissed off.

And then at last they will embark on a world tour in which they’ll play the exact same setlist every single night for three years and wear the same costumes.

I love U2 and I’m sure I’ll love the new record. I’m just looking for them to mix it up a little bit.

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Bono On Frank

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It was sure a treat when Bono recorded ‘I’ve Got You Under My Skin’ with Frank Sinatra on his ‘Duets’ album in 1993. It was the highlight of the record. There was even a music video that went along with it.  Bono then presented an aging Sinatra with the Grammy’s Lifetime achievement award in 1994. (It really took until 1994 for them to give this award to Ol’ Blue Eyes?) Bono gave an awesome speech for Frank. The sad part was when the director had the music play Frank of of the stage. Even though Frank wasn’t exactly at the top of his game, but I’d say that the Chairman of the Board deserves a little more respect than that.

Sinatra has been gone since 1998 and Bono now writes another beautiful piece for him. It’s the U2 frontman’s first OP-ED for The New York Times. If his future writings are are anything like this, I’d love to see more. 

Do yourself a favor and read it here. It’s a must.

The Curious Case Of Benjamin Button

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The Curious Case Of Benjamin Button is a good movie. Everyone should go see it. I saw it on Christmas night and the theatre was packed and there wasn’t a dry eye in the audience. That being said, there are a number of problems that I have with it. 

First of all it was way too long. Most of the time I agree with directors having ‘final cut’. The amendment that should be made to giving directors final cut should be that the film has to clock in under 2 1/2 hours. If you can’t get your film down to 150 minutes then you should be doing something else. I love David Fincher, I’ve really enjoyed his films, but at some point there has to be a ‘suit’ there who puts his foot down and says two and a half hours is enough.

The whole movie felt very familiar. Almost like I’d been there before but I couldn’t put mu finger on it. Then walking out of the theatre someone said that it kind of reminded them of Forrest Gump. Then I remembered that it was written by the same screenwriter. While watching it the fact that it was very Forrest Gump-ish didn’t really bother me. But after reflecting on Button, it is kind of annoying. It’ll be even more annoying if Eric Roth gets an Oscar nomination for writing the same movie twice.

I didn’t really have an issue with Brad Pitt’s acting in Button. Benjamin Button never really shows much emotion throughout the film. There aren’t any ‘Oscar Moments’ as a friend likes to put it. Pitt makes great decisions when it comes down to which films he’s going to do. But I can’t get behind the glamorization of Brad Pitt in movies. If he wants to that he should do more romantic comedies (see Ben Affleck or Owen Wilson). Pitt is great to look at, handsome guy to say the least, but why was a third of the movie all about showing us just how good looking he is. I can see a little bit of it in the aging theme of Button, but there were a number of shots that it seemed were simply there to make him look good. It may make more women see the movie, but to me it was a little distracting.

One last thing on Pitt. If The Academy chooses to give him a nomination for best actor it’ll be a disgrace. Again, there was no acting on his part. So do there want to nominate him because computers made him look like an old man and then an hour later he looked like Brad Pitt again? 

I think that Pitt will get his trophy someday. But not for Benjamin Button.

This was a good movie with plenty of flaws. It’s a film that really makes you wrap your head around some pretty tough ideas. And a lot of the ‘Forrest Gump moments’ are pretty good. Cate Blanchett is great, as she always is. It’s not a light film so maybe that’s the reason that it felt so long. I do recommend but I really don’t think I’d see it again.

GRADE: B

Outliers By Malcolm Gladwell

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I’m late to the Malcom Gladwell party. His books had caught my eye in the past but I didn’t pick up “Blink” or “The Tipping Point”. I guess the buzz of those two made me pick up “Outliers”.

It was a good read, but in the end it left me a little disappointed. “Outliers” is an easy read in that you don’t feel like you’re reading a textbook even though there are a lot of statistics and scholorly quotes thrown at you. But his theories just seem a little weak to me. He gives you hard stats but it’s all tied very loosely together.

One of his ‘theories’ was that, in short, children in middle class families do better in school than children from lower class households. I didn’t need to read fifteen pages to come to that conclusion.

With all of that being said, I just picked up a copy of “The Tipping Point”.

GRADE: B-