Apr 21, 2009 DVDs Web Exclusive

I’ve always been a firm believer that if he doesn’t have an amazing feature script, Michel Gondry should stick to making his brilliant short films and music videos. In my estimation, Gondry has made one great movie (Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind) and several mixed to shitty ones (Human Nature, Science of Sleep, Be Kind Rewind). The brilliant Director’s Label series (which is reportedly kaput) put out a double-sided disc of Gondry excellence in 2003, but many of his videos were left out. Enter 2009 and witness the self-released second volume. More

Apr 21, 2009 DVDs Web Exclusive

Criterion once again shines with this 3-disc release of French filmmaker Jean Painlevé’s scientific films, which largely feature underwater creatures such as the sea horse and the sea urchin. Not only is the set comprehensive, it’s also surprising, in that it also doubles as an essential release for Yo La Tengo fans. More

Apr 21, 2009 DVDs Web Exclusive

Director Peter Bogdanovich is someone who showed a lot of promise in the ’70s only to have his talent/relevancy disappear in the ’80s (with the notable exception of Mask). He must have a lot of time on his hands now that he’s no longer guest-starring on The Sopranos, as he’s released director’s cuts of two of his films. One is a stone cold classic (The Last Picture Show) and the other (Nickelodeon) is maybe best left forgotten. More

Apr 21, 2009 DVDs Web Exclusive

It may be a little too soon to be making a biopic on the life and death of The Notorious B.I.G.—aka Biggie Smalls, aka Christopher Wallace—but Notorious provides an oddly sympathetic take on an individual who, as displayed, seems to have been a bit of a selfish (and not-too-bright) prick. Biggie was talented, though, with a gift for words and rhymes. Soul Food director George Tillman, Jr. has a passion for the subject and fills the story with capable actors who disappear into their roles. More

Apr 20, 2009 Live Web Exclusive

Day two of Coachella 2009 failed to top day one, in part because of a weak headliner. But the second day did feature strong sets from M.I.A., Jenny Lewis, and Fleet Foxes. More

Apr 18, 2009 Live Web Exclusive

Coachella 2009 kicked off with strong sets from living legends Leonard Cohen and Paul McCartney, as the crowd adjusted to a desert heat that was forecasted to get even hotter as the weekend went on. More

Ballerina

Studio: First Run Features
Directed by Bertrand Normand; Starring: Diana Vishneva, Ulyana Lopatkina, Evgenia Obraztsova, Alina Somova and Svetlana Zakharova

Apr 17, 2009 Cinema Web Exclusive

In this 2006 video documentary, which has been making the rounds in art houses this year, director Bertrand Normand spotlights five Russian ballerinas at various stages in their careers at the Kirov Ballet. More

Apr 15, 2009 DVDs Web Exclusive

Some properties shouldn’t be adapted period, and some properties shouldn’t be adapted by Frank Miller. I’ve always thought of comic book writer Miller (Sin City, The Dark Knight Returns) as a mostly one-trick pony who relishes extreme violence, the objectification of women, and more violence; I would place his screenplay for Robocop 2 very high (or low) in the pantheon of worst sequels ever, killing one of the best postmodern takes on Frankenstein to date. But I digress. The Spirit is complete garbage. More

Apr 14, 2009 Live Web Exclusive

Friendly Fires, of St. Albans, U.K., is still riding high on their self-titled debut. The album, released in the fall of 2008, showcases confident, kinetic songwriting that matches their growing reputation for high-octane performances. Frontman Ed Macfarlane’s winking histrionic delivery plays nearly perfectly against the tight, road-honed sounds of Jack Savidge (drums), Edd Gibson (guitar), and Rob Lee (bass) making for a kind of smart, indie-rock response to Duran Duran. More