Film Review: Black Dynamite

My knowledge of Blaxploitation films doesn’t really go beyond Shaft and Tarantino’s homage to the genre, Jackie Brown. However, I think most people are familiar with the basis of the 1970’s Blaxploitation films and television programs to know that they consist of badass brothers, foxy ladies, jive-ass turkeys, pimps, crime, and funk/soul music.  That being said, Black Dynamite is awesome.  It’s not only a spoof of Blaxploitation films, but also a kung-foo, action, and conspiracy film.  Black Dynamite is well executed and very thought-out.  Director Scott Sanders paid attention to detail, it looks and feels like the films it aims to replicate, through the use of 16mm film and 1970’s stock footage, giving it a gritty, scratchy and contrasted look.  The soundtrack is great, using original funk and soul music by Adrian Younge that literally describes what is happening on-screen in a hilarious fashion, and uses vintage sound effects. Continue reading

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Fiction Fixation #2: Dan Kennard – Part Two

(artwork by Dan Kennard)

In January we posted the first installment of Dan Kennard’s 642 Honeysuckle Street, “Textisode 1: The Pilot”.  When Dan sent over “Textisode 2: The G.O.O.P. Campaign,” I was excited to post his work again.  So, our Fiction Fixation #2 is also Dan Kennard with another story from his litcom, 642 Honeysuckle Street. In case you have no idea what a “litcom” is, here is what Dan has to say about it:

“An interest in classic and modern sitcoms like Seinfeld and Arrested Development, among others, lead to the creation called a “Litcom”, which is a new story form combining elements of literature and elements of a television sitcom. The goal of the project is to offer readers a uniquely modern reading experience, and like a television sitcom it only takes a half hour or less to experience. Just as the famous words of Virgil Island proclaim, “People will read again!”

If you want to checkout the first Textisode before reading part two, click here.  Or just read this one.  Either way, you should read them, they’re really clever and funny.

642 Honeysuckle Street

Textisode 2: The G.O.O.P Campaign

by: Dan Kennard

Barry Gazer sat down on the couch in front of his brand new entertainment system and nearly drooled. Before him stood the most powerful combination of audio and video ever assembled. A large ninety-seven and a half inch flat-screen television, and standing next to it, one on each side, were two six foot tall black speakers, wired for absolute sound. The remote itself had over four hundred specialized buttons, and when Barry finally pressed his stumpy finger onto the red power button at the top, he was nearly struck dumb by the loud kssssssssssssssshhhhhhhhhhhhhhh that came crashing through his coffin sized speakers. The cable was out. Continue reading

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Film Review: Moon

Every year there are quality films that fly under the radar and go unnoticed by the general public.  With the increasing trend of certain films lacking an efficient marketing campaign by studios, and getting a limited release by only playing in New York and Los Angeles, it occurs quite often.  The general politics and reasons behind this issue are a matter of discussion requiring a more extensive discourse that I won’t delve into at this time.  Just note that it occurs to many independent and festival style films each year that are excellent and deserving of praise outside those circles, but for some reason after being purchased by a major studio are not deemed marketable and are basically buried alive, unlike say, those awesome Tyler Perry movies. Continue reading

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Album Review: Yeasayer – Odd Blood

On their 2007 debut, All Hour Symbols, Yeasayer brought a unique brand of folk, highlighted by a few danceable tracks placed throughout the album.  With their sophomore release, Odd Blood, they turn down the folk, turn up the dance, and provide an album of electro-laden tracks inspired by world-music and futurism. Continue reading

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Album Review: Owen Pallett – Heartland

Owen Pallett may be one of the best new artists you’ve never heard of.  How can I say that?  Don’t I know that you’re on the cutting edge of indie music, and if he were really all that great then you’d know about him?  Well, first, Pallett’s resume includes indie giants Arcade Fire and Grizzly Bear (among others), he is credited with arranging the strings on the albums and contributing to remixes.  This should not be downplayed, as both Arcade Fire and Grizzly Bear have been lauded in large part for their sophisticated orchestral arrangements, but it seems that Pallett may have fell by the wayside as these bands entered the mainstream consciousness (Jay-Z didn’t exactly reference Owen Pallett when he praised Grizzly Bear).  Second, until recently, Pallett had been known as Final Fantasy.  He’s actually been around for years, but really, try telling your friends about a dude who plays violin and calls himself Final Fantasy and see how far you get.  As you can probably tell, it doesn’t sound especially appealing.  Final Fantasy did manage to generate a modest amount of fanfare, though (especially in Canada where he won the coveted Polaris Music Prize). Continue reading

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Taking it to the Movies: An Interview with Bangs

Sudanese rapper, Bangs, has been an internet phenomenon since putting his videos on YouTube last fall.  In total, the videos for his songs “Take U To Da Movies” and “My Special Girl,” have had around two millions views on YouTube.  “Take U To Da Movies” has even spawned a series of cover versions; among them are a ” target=”_blank”>Screamo cover, an” target=”_blank”> acoustic cover, and even a ” target=”_blank”>techno remix or two.  Responses to Bangs music have been highly polar, ranging from fans that love him, to the always-present ” target=”_blank”>haters.  However, Bangs has been gaining momentum with his first album Hard 2 Be Up, and has a second LP in the works.  He has regularly been performing live at clubs in Australia, and recently even took the stage at their Big Day Out festival which features artists like Girl Talk, Lilly Allen, and The Mars Volta. Continue reading

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Live: of Montreal @ The Highline Ballroom, NYC

Venue: Highline Ballroom, NYC
Date: 2/26/10
By: Dave Ugelow

of Montreal does not disappoint.  I often describe them as a strange band, but one that needs to be seen.  What seems to make them such a compelling live band is their ability to effectively blend catchy pop melodies with mesmerizing theatrics.  As you’ve no doubt heard by now, the January 26 show at the Highline Ballroom in Manhattan was one to remember.  Complete with shocking guest appearances by Susan Sarandon (yes, that Susan Sarandon) and Solange Knowles (sister to self-proclaimed indie-music aficionado Beyonce Knowles), of Montreal really brought the proverbial noise.  But the celebs weren’t even the best part of the show (although, I won’t soon forget the image of Susan Sarandon dressed as a teacher punishing a man in a pig suit with a ruler). Continue reading

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