May 2011

Floyd Lloyd & the Potato 5 Meet Laurel Aitken by Potato 5, The Featuring Floyd Lloyd Seivright (8/10)

Format: CD

This CD has a bit of a branding problem. Is it a Potato 5 record? Laurel Aitken? Floyd Lloyd? In any event, this is a ska record from the 90's with a very first-wave sound. Ska like this is good, albeit incredibly formulaic. I can only take so much of it and, thankfully, this is a short nine song album. I like to put on "Jesse Jackson" and watch news coverage of the Blago trial (injecting "Junior" after the chorus).

DDD by Poster Children (8/10)

Format: CD

Poster Children finally return to form after their less-than-stellar New World Record CD. I guess they decided to forget about all their buggy CDROM content and focus on the music for a change. There are still hints of the experimentation in some of the songs, but most of the surprise is gone and the rocking far outweighs the novelty factor. I really like "This Town Needs a Fire" and "Zero Stars," and I also really dig the two instrumental tracks.

New World Record by Poster Children (5/10)

Format: CD

Well, the Poster Children's run of awesome albums ends here at about track 3. I like the inclusion of synths and always appreciate over-production, but the band makes some really questionable choices here. For example, "Ankh" features a silly, low-pitched vocal part? Most of the tracks come off as experimental B-sides and they're just boring.

Frankenstein Must Be Destroyed (6/10)

After a gruesome and exciting start, this film loses steam fast. Peter Cushing never comes off as creepy and evil as I think the film makers wanted him to be... and this is including the tacked on rape scene. His co-stars aren't any more convincing either. This movie seems to be mostly a hodge podge of ideas and missed opportunities. However, I did like the cringe inducing (yet bloodless) brain surgery bit.

RTFM by Poster Children (9/10)

Format: CD

This record starts out with a bang and is almost as good as Junior Citizen. A couple of the songs near the end aren't quite up to the level as the rest of the album (something about "King of the Hill" just annoys me), but overall another great record. The CD contains a bunch of interactive CDROM content that is now obsolete on a modern PC. Thank you Macromedia!

Originally when I reviewed this album I wrote the following:

Empire of Lies by Andrew Klaven (7/10)

I like Andrew Klaven. His Klaven on the Culture videos are good natured and entertaining little bits of political satire that I will always watch regardless of the topic. Empire of Lies is a thriller which attempts to take on political correctness in our post 9/11 world. Klaven's approach to the problem is to cast against type and make the protagonist an un-ironic born again Christian (with a somewhat unholy past). He soon finds himself confronting his past and getting caught up with a bunch of islamic terrorists.

The Cult of the Presidency: America's Dangerous Devotion to Executive Power by Gene Healy (6/10)

This book analyzes America's proclivity towards an ever expansive and powerful executive branch—admittedly not the most exciting read. As one might expect, there's plenty in here documenting the post 9/11 Bush White House's power grabs. That's fine, but I was expecting it to delve a little more deeply into public expectations of our Presidents. Do you really think the guy sitting in the Oval Office can create jobs? Change gas prices? End our social ills?

The Adventures of Hercules (6/10)

This movie is part of a DVD double feature with the amazing Hercules. See my review of that film for my take on its awesomeness. The sequel seems like it is just as low-budget and cheesy-good as the first but it does not entertain the way Hercules does. There is a heavy reliance on re-purposed assets, and boring hand-drawn animation in lieu of practical effects. It's like bad CGI from before when there was CGI.

Greenberg (7/10)

Sure there are a few laughs, but, for the most part, Greenberg is a drifting, plotless character study of a really unlikable guy. The title character is played by Ben Stiller. Stiller for me, like Robin Williams, is always difficult to accept in non-comedic roles (Oh my god, Mork was the real killer!). I was able to look beyond the questionable casting because the film comes across as a mild indictment of hipsterism and self centered slackers.