Wednesday, March 22, 2023

Review: 50th Anniversary edition of Elton John's 'Honky Château'

Tumbleweed Connection was Elton John's most thematically strong, beautifully written and produced album, but it didn't have any hits. With Honky Château, he got pretty damn close to that level of quality while also serving up two sizable smashes, one of which was probably his best song and possibly the best song about being a rocket man ever written (one must also give Bowie his due credit). Not every one of the album tracks was a genuine stand out, but the jauntily sexy "Hercules", the mellowly sexy "Mellow", the dreamy "Mona Lisas and Mad Hatters", and the outrageous "I Think I'm Gonna Kill Myself" (not quite as hilarious as Queen's "Don't Try Suicide", but much quicker on the draw to find the humor in one of the most tragic things imaginable) are some of the best album cuts of John's career. 

Friday, March 17, 2023

Review: 'AC/DC at 50'

Martin Popoff is pretty up front about the difficulty of writing a book about Australia's favorite sons of school-boy-clad hard boogieing. The Young family is apparently notoriously private, so little is known about Angus and Malcolm aside from the big events that make big news, such as Malcolm's struggle with dementia and eventual death in 2017. This must have made fulfilling the assignment of writing AC/DC at 50 (and Popoff is also up front about the fact that he was assigned this project) a challenge. Motorbooks' (Fill in the Blank) at 50 books are illustrated histories dominated by photos of the featured artist and related memorabilia, and they tend to come in under 200 pages, so they aren't exactly text heavy. Still, how do you write a book of even that length about a clan as tight-lipped as AC/DC?

Tuesday, March 7, 2023

Review: 'Inland Empire' Blu-ray

Whether they were loved (Eraserhead, The Elephant Man, Blue Velvet) or loathed (Dune), David Lynch's films always had a rich, textured quality that made them more like worlds to inhabit than stories to watch on a screen. Even his first foray into network television, Twin Peaks, looked unusually deep and cinematic for an age of flat video images and 25-inch screens. 

Wednesday, March 1, 2023

Review: 'BFI Film Classics: Eraserhead'

For her entry in the British Film Institute's series of paperback monographs, Claire Henry has selected Eraserhead, a quintessential cult classic perennially ripe for analysis. Henry supplies the analysis but in a much more measured way than overzealous film professors usually bring to David Lynch's Rorschach Test. Aside from opining that the picture is most convincingly an expression of paternal fears (an opinion I personally share), she mostly collates the theories of other scholars to show how ripe the film is for all kinds of theories, and, either intentionally or unintentionally, to show how those theories cancel each other out to a certain degree. Because Eraserhead is better to experience, to live in, than to overthink, and Lynch is nothing if not an intuitive rather than intellectual filmmaker. 
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