Archives for December 2013

Overstreet’s Favorite Recordings: 2013 — Part Two (#10-#1)

A few days ago, I posted Part One of my "sonic slideshow" — a journey through my favorite records of 2013. That post included a bunch of Honorable Mentions, and then the albums that run from #25 through #11 on my list.Now it's time to explore the Top Ten. So put on your headphones, and keep an open mind. And when you're ready, post your own list of favorites in the Comments, so we can continue exploring... … [Read more...]

Overstreet’s Favorite Recordings: 2013 — Part One (#25-#11)

It has been the most exciting year in many, many years for me as a music lover. I've sailed so many different seas of sound. So many new artists became favorites, and so many old favorites showed up unexpectedly with albums that seem like contenders for their very best.I've narrowed this year's list of my favorite records down to 25 titles that I would have happily included in a Top 5 list at the end of a typical year.  I invite you to listen to standout tracks, counting down from #25 to … [Read more...]

Her (2013): An All-Thumbs Review

This review of Spike Jonze's film Her is Part Four of the new fiction series I call All Thumbs Video.The series concerns a small cast of characters, friends who talk about movies in one of Earth's last video stores — All Thumbs, a shop named in honor of Roger Ebert. They're members of "Sight Club," a club that watches films in theaters or in the store's private viewing room and then reconvenes the next day to discuss what they've experienced.In the first installment, They argued about Ter … [Read more...]

Inside Llewyn Davis (2013)

He stares into the camera, so shaken by the beauty of the music he’s just discovered that he appears to be in anguish. This music, he says, was “filled with such longing, such unfulfillable longing, it had me trembling.”His name is Salieri, and in Milos Forman’s beloved film Amadeus, he is played by F. Murray Abraham.Why am I talking about Amadeus when this is supposed to be a review of Inside Llewyn Davis? Stay with me. It’s important. … [Read more...]

Looking Closer’s Last-Minute Christmas Gift Recommendations

I wince when I find myself posting something on the Internet that equates Christmas with buying stuff. Christmas is about being grateful for what we have received: grace, the promise of everlasting life, the realization that we have nothing at all to fear. Nothing.And yet, since I know many of you are scrambling to pick up gifts for friends and family, I feel compelled to bring some possibilities to your attention... gifts that would enrich the lives of those who care about excellence, … [Read more...]

Big Screen 2014: Been There… and Back Again… and Again…

Good news, moviegoers! Courage, invention, and imaginations are soaring to new heights in the American film industry.Today, I've learned that there's a new Gilligan's Island movie in the works. What's more, the two sequels you've been dying to see are coming together: a follow-up to Rounders and the mandatory Shakespeare in Love 2!What will we do while we wait for these grand contributions to cinema? No worries. According to Movie Insider, here's what Hollywood has in store for us... … [Read more...]

The Abomination of “Desolation”: Two Hobbit-Related Lists

 Peter Jackson's new Middle-Earth movie — The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug — is here. And not even an army of the most influential film critics could prevent it from becoming a box office sensation.But, as you can see, most film critics are actually cheering for the film. And why not, if what you want is a immersive, overwhelming, action-packed big-screen experience?Me, I didn't attend the press screening. I initially accepted the invitation, hoping that this chapter wou … [Read more...]

Indiana Jones and the Pirate Muppets of Dagobah

I read the news today — oh, boy... Walt Disney Studios has bought the marketing and distribution rights for future movies in the "Indiana Jones" franchise from Paramount Pictures, the companies said Friday.This gives Disney control over the future of the series, adding to the ownership rights it acquired when it bought Lucasfilm in in 2012 and clearing the way for the studio to make more "Indiana Jones" movies if it chooses to do so.Okay, so now that Disney owns the Muppets, Star Wars, a … [Read more...]

Can You Do Better Than “It Was a Dark and Stormy Night…”?

The temperature is falling fast. It's windy. There's snow in the rain that's splatting against the windows of my house.What is your neighborhood like on a dark and stormy night? If you were asked to describe it, what would you write? … [Read more...]

Let Us Now Praise the Great Voices of the Movies…

Mel Blanc may have been the king of voice actors for cartoons. But who are the great "unseen voices" of live-action moviemaking? … [Read more...]